Posts Tagged ‘baby blues’

Is it Baby Blues or PPD?

Thursday, July 28th, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-07-25 at 7.25.28 PMWelcome to motherhood! Now get ready to experience a whole new body–mentally, physically and emotionally. While your new little bundle of joy is bringing so much joy and happiness to your life your body is busy trying to figure out what to do with a shift in hormones. Things are moving around, readjusting, and for lots of moms that includes some of those dreaded “baby blues” or maybe even postpartum depression.

What is the difference you ask? In a nutshell, baby blues is pretty mild and doesn’t last too long. Postpartum depression is much harder to deal with and in some instances anti-depressants are prescribed to help new moms deal. They both start in the same way with the same sort of symptoms including mood swings, crying, sadness, and irritability. The thing is that these also happen to sound like symptoms of sleep deprived new moms or really anyone that’s sleep deprived.

According to Psychology Today 50-80 percent of women experience baby blues and it typically only lasts about 2 weeks after delivery. If you are one of the 15 percent of women who continue to have these symptoms or they get worse past the two weeks then it’s most likely post partum depression and it might be time to ask for help.  Some telltale symptoms include: fear of harming your baby, panic attacks, feelings of worthlessness and despair, a loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy and nightmares among others.

Just like with baby blues it is thought that the main cause for PPD is the shift in hormones experienced after giving birth. Unfortunately some women happen to have a higher risk of developing ppd. Psych Central states a past history of depression, lack of an adequate support system, a pregnancy or birth with complications and multiple births are a few of the possible issues that can contribute to the depression.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms you need to know that you’re not alone and there is nothing wrong with you. So many other moms go through this, which means that finding help can be easier than you think. Don’t be embarrassed to ask for help. The symptoms can be serious and seeking out a professional with experience in the area will do you a world of wonders. If you’re not sure where to go for help I suggest starting with your OBGYN. Talk to them about your symptoms and they should be able to point you in the right direction.

It also never hurts to nourish yourself with anything you can that can have an impact on depression. While it’s not a substitute for professional help a healthy diet can definitely work in conjunction with talk therapy or an antidepressant. Try keeping sugar and highly processed foods to a minimum. Instead focus on getting plenty of healthy protein, whole grains and healthy fats such as wild salmon, avocado and nuts. If you can try to get some time for yourself each day, practice self-love and above all be patient and forgiving to yourself.

Jacqueline Banks is a certified Holistic Health Counselor focused on nutrition and green living strategies. She works with women in all stages of motherhood, from mothers struggling with conception, through pregnancy, lactation and beyond to ensure the best health and nutrition for both mother and baby. 

Postpartum Depression

Thursday, March 5th, 2015

postpartum depressionThis is incredibly hard for me to write because it’s something I have personally struggled with—and that’s the root of what makes PPD so difficult. Because admitting to anybody that looking at your beautiful baby, the child you hoped for for so long, makes you sob is shameful. Ungrateful. Crazy. Worst, unmotherly. Right?

WRONG. It took me a long time to come to terms with this, particularly with the stigma I felt came alongside it, but I was wrong to feel bad about, well, feeling bad. If you or a friend are walking in those same, awful shoes, you or she absolutely should not feel bad. You should take action, as quick as you can (even if that means asking somebody else to get you help because that’s all you have the energy to do). Your family needs you, and while it can be hard for moms to admit, you need you.

First, baby blues vs. PPD. You’ve probably heard of both, but how do you know which you may be experiencing? Both are normal, but baby blues should peter out on their own by about two weeks postpartum and symptoms are milder. PBS has an excellent blog topic on differentiating the two here.

Postpartum depression symptoms run the gamut from frequent crying, feelings of hopelessness, anxiety, changes in sleep patterns, or lethargy. You don’t need to suffer from each of these to suffer from this disorder. You don’t need to have thoughts of self-harm or of harming your child, either.

If you are suffering from any of these and they are affecting your daily life, please talk to someone. Your doctor or midwife, your spouse, a pastor or a supportive friend or family member are all good candidates. Also, if you have a friend or family member you suspect is suffering from PPD, please don’t hesitate to talk to her.

Treatment options for PPD vary. Many women get relief from psychotherapy (talk therapy) and lifestyle remedies (getting daily exercise and exposure to sunlight, talking to people, etc). Some women need medication, which can be a tough decision for a mom to make if she’s breastfeeding. Your medical provider should be able to help you with the pros and cons of different medications, and if you are considering this route, kellymom is a good resource for research on breastfeeding compatibility with various pharmaceuticals.

Finally, remember that suffering from PPD is in no way a predictor of what kind of mother you are. It WILL eventually go away. You are NOT crazy, and you are NOT alone. Please take care of yourself. And if you are having self-harming thoughts, please seek help immediately.

Meaghan Howard is a mom to two boys and a steady stream of foster dogs. She and her family currently live in Japan.


Depression When You’re Weaning

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

Depression When You're WeanThere is a wealth of evidence that many mothers experience the baby blues and post-partum depression after childbirth. But researchers have rarely studied the effect that weaning has on mom’s mood and well-being.

While you’re breastfeeding, your body is making more oxytocin, also known as the “love hormone.” Oxytocin is responsible for the muscle contractions that carry us through life: it plays a part in orgasm, birth, and breastfeeding. Truly amazing, complex stuff– and no wonder why the man-made copy, Pitocin, falls extremely short.

The window for postpartum depression has been greatly expanded in recent years, with studies showing that moms can experience symptoms starting just days or weeks after birth up to a year afterwards.

Scientists theorize that once the oxytocin levels return to pre-pregnancy levels after weaning, mom may experience a drop in mood levels because in addition to its contributions to creating life, oxytocin is also responsible for relaxation and psychological stability in our brains. But researchers don’t know for sure—because there is no data on oxytocin levels in women who wean naturally.

In 2012, a study was released linking depression with failed lactation, but that was centered around women who are forced to wean for one reason or another. Even then, it was hard for scientists to determine which problem was driving the other. Were these women weaning because the depression was too much, or was the weaning causing the depression? Most pregnancy research is baby-centered, admits Dr. Alison Stuebe, an OBGYN and assistant professor of maternal and child health at the University of North Carolina, who co-authored the study. “The mom kind of disappears from the radar” after that, she says. (Any new mom would probably agree that’s not just limited to research!)

Doctors say it’s normal to feel sad about the loss of the nursing relationship, even if you are ready to be done nursing. Many women say they feel tired, irritated, and sad, and experience mood swings similar to PMS.  These symptoms are completely normal and tend to disappear as quickly as they crop up. What you should watch for, say researchers, are symptoms that last more than a few days, change your daily activities, or your sleep patterns. If you don’t enjoy things that you used to, or find yourself lying awake at night when the kids are all sleeping peacefully, that should be a red flag.

I first became aware of post-weaning depression anecdotally. Mom friends from online group posted about having depressive symptoms, not after childbirth but after weaning, and I read a few mommy bloggers who talked about it. It was something I noted so I could be prepared for it with my second child. I hadn’t made it to a year with my first child, and hoped to nurse at least a year this time. However, I became pregnant when she was 10 months and she weaned in a few days when I started employing don’t offer/don’t refuse in a pregnancy panic. I was already awash with pregnancy hormones, and I never experienced weaning depression.

But now, I am in the process of weaning my third and final nursling. I’m not sure where in the process we are.

IMG_5789We moved a month after she turned one, so I committed to keeping it up for at least six more months so she could adjust completely to the change, and here we are at 18 months. Currently, she nurses first thing in the morning, and then on demand during the day. Sometimes it’s a few times, sometimes it’s just once that day. The sessions are very short and snacky, and she has to be extremely tired to actually nurse to sleep.

A month or two after she cut out regular pre-nap and pre-bedtime sessions in favor of reading books instead, I noticed a change in my mood. I would lose my temper and yell at the older kids. I didn’t want to go running, which I normally love to do. I quit caring if I got a shower or got dressed that day. I was putting off writing assignments until the last minute because I didn’t have the energy to do them. I felt hopeless and convinced that everything was going wrong in every area of my life. Sometimes I felt like everyone would be better off without me, even though I knew that wasn’t true. These feelings would last a day or two, and then I would feel like myself again.

I would love for someone to really study the effects of weaning on moms who wean naturally or purposefully. It’s confusing when you’re going through it because of how suddenly it stops and starts, and how the smallest thing can bring on such intense feelings. I feel crazy, because nursing is so hard, and you do look forward to not being confined to blocks of a few hours of freedom, to your children being independent and not needing you so much, and even to losing that layer of nursing fat that seems to hide all over your body. But then, when it comes down to really losing that relationship and never having that closeness again, it’s sad. It represents more than not nursing anymore; it’s you and your baby growing older and growing up.

I’m trying to work through my sporadic depression by taking the last placenta capsules saved from the birth of my last child, and committing to getting outside and running even when I have no desire to go. I know the sunshine, fresh air and the stimulation exercise gives my body will help. But at the same time, I am also committing to getting help and talking to someone if I can’t pull myself out of it, or if the symptoms last for more than a day or two.

If your child is weaning and you don’t feel like yourself, complete this depression checklist, which you can print and take with you to the doctor. Talk to your significant other, friends or family about how you are feeling, regardless of whether or not you think your feelings are warranted. If your doctor doesn’t understand, find one who will.

Erin Burt is a freelance writer and mother of three who lives and writes in Queensbury, New York.