Is it normal to Cry a Lot after Having a Baby?
Is it normal to cry a lot after having a baby?
Baby Blues or Post Natal Depression?
How I remember that whirlwind of emotions that comes with the arrival of a new baby! Many new parents (both mums and dads) will experience mood swings, tearfulness, and vulnerability during those very early days. These feelings, known as the baby blues, emerge during the first week after childbirth and are thankfully temporary in the majority of cases. They are believed to be caused by a mix of hormone fluctuations, sleep deprivation and the sheer physical and emotional changes that come with childbirth.
Symptoms of the baby blues are varied but often include:
It is very important to remember that if you experience the baby blues you are not a failure and, with up to 80% of new mothers experiencing it to some degree, you are certainly not alone! As a newborn photographer my heart goes out to the new parents I have met who, while being overjoyed to have their new baby at last, are also exhausted and emotionally vulnerable as they try to navigate this amazing but utterly draining new life. Mums - be kind to yourself; think about what your body has just gone though, not only have you grown a whole new person in there over the last nine months, you’ve also just delivered that person into the world! Dads – you will have also had a tough time from watching your loved one go through pregnancy and labour to no doubt feeling exhausted now as you try to help look after your new baby. Try and remember that these feelings are totally normal and that they will most likely resolve on their own within a few weeks as sleep patterns improve and you all adjust to your new way of life.
Differentiating Between Baby Blues and Postnatal Depression:
While the baby blues are short term and tend to resolve on their own, postnatal depression is a more severe and long-lasting condition that usually requires professional intervention. If you notice that your own baby blues or those of a loved one don't go away or seem to get worse, and you are worried about the possibility of post natal depression, please reach out for help as soon as possible.
Some key things to watch out for include:
Remember that post-natal depression does not just affect women. According to the NHS website research has been undertaken that shows up to 1 in 10 men become depressed after becoming fathers.
If you do suspect that you may be suffering from post-natal depression, start by confiding in your other half, a trusted friend or family member. In addition, consider seeking support from your GP, Midwife or Health Visitor.
Please remember that it is not your fault you are depressed, this is an illness like any other and can happen to anyone, it certainly does not mean that you are a bad parent. As my GP told me, you wouldn't criticise someone for seeking help to manage diabetes would you? Seeking help for depression is exactly the same, still an illness, just a different set of symptoms.
Treatments for Post Natal Depression:
There are a wide range of treatments used to help those suffering from Post Natal Depression. You can try self help measures such as talking with your family and friends about how you feel and how they could help you, making sure you rest whenever you can, take exercise and eat healthily. Your GP may be able to recommend a self-help course or be able to refer you for a talking therapy such as CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) which is something I did myself and found hugely helpful.
If your depression is severe and other treatments haven’t helped, your doctor my prescribe anti-depressants (remember to let them know if you are breast feeding so a suitable medication can be prescribed).
To conclude, the journey into parenthood is a roller coaster ride of emotion and it is perfectly normal to experience a range of emotions during this transformative period. While the baby blues are a common and temporary phenomenon, post-natal depression needs to be taken more seriously. By recognising the signs of post-natal depression and seeking support and/or treatment, you will be taking a proactive step towards healing and recovering the joy of new parenthood. Always remember that this is not your fault and that you are not abnormal or alone in going through this. You are experiencing a small blip in the road, you deserve help and yes, you are an amazing parent!
Thanks for reading.
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