After the birth of a baby about half of all mothers suffer a period of mild depression called the blues. For these distressing emotions arise causing intense sadness and you may cry for no particular reason.
If you are a new mother and find this is happening to you be reassured that the blues don’t last long. Perhaps a few hours, or maybe for a few days. Then as suddenly as it came, it disappears. While you have the Blues, even the smallest problems can cause you to worry a great deal. You may feel very anxious and tense and find it impossible to cheer up, or feel pains for which there is no apparent medical reason. Or you may feel generally unwell but have no particular symptoms. The blues can make it difficult to sleep, and even if you can sleep you are likely to feel extremely tired and lethargic
The blues can have several causes, some biological and some emotional. Once you have given birth there are very sudden and dramatic changes in your hormone levels. Some, needed during pregnancy, drop rapidly, as if they are being poured away down a drain. Others, like those which start the production of milk, start to rise. It is possible that changes like this may act to trigger the blues.
However much anyone tries to explain to you what happens following giving birth, you may be unprepared for the extreme weariness that can swamp you. There is the build-up of the pregnancy, followed by the physical exertion of the birth itself. Rest and quiet are most important after a birth and very few mothers get either. You need to physically recover from the birth, and at the same time are busy responding to the needs of your baby. Stopping the rush of visitors wanting to see the new arrival, is also a problem and there are many visitors who stay too long. Well before your delivery it may help to be firm about what you want and do not want to happen. That includes organising who you DO want to have around to help you, and for how long, although that may need to be flexible depending on how things go.
If you have the blues you should be allowed to cry if you want to and talk about your fluctuating emotions. It can be a great help to you if you have someone who listens to you and who you trust to reassure you that your worries and misery will not last and that you will soon feel better. If you feel over-sensitive about what is said to you by anyone, whether they are relatives or medical people, don’t worry. Remember this is your hormones creating these extreme feelings, people are not trying to upset you.
The blues are not to be worried about unless they continue past a few days, or start getting worse. If that happens please see your doctor to discuss the problem, or tell your midwife. The earlier you let them know the quicker you can be helped.
DONOT be afraid to tell the health professionals. Remember:
No-one will think bad things about you.
No-one will think it is your fault.
No-one will think you are a bad or unfit mother.
No-one will want to take your baby away from you.
No-one will want to do anything but help you.
Everyone will want to help you enjoy your baby and your life.