In the first few days after a baby arrives, it is normal to feel like nothing is ever going to be the same again. In some moments, those feelings are ones of elation: “my baby is adorable!”, “I can’t believe I’m a mom!”, or simply pure love. Then there are the other moments. The ones where you wonder “will I ever sleep again” and “why do my nipples hurt”. In your first few weeks after childbirth we talk about the postpartum baby blues.
It is estimated that up to 80% of new mothers experience the blues. Usually these feelings last up to two weeks and can include weepiness, irritability, changes in appetite and exhaustion. Life after baby is full of many changes, more than you could have anticipated.
What if the baby blues don’t go away?
If you continue to feel overwhelmed, sad, angry, or just not like yourself, it might be time to get help. One way to do this is to talk to your midwife or obstetrician about postpartum depression. You can ask them what kind of resources are available for postpartum depression in your area or if they have a therapist they recommend who has experience in postpartum mood disorders. They will likely be able to refer you to community programs that can help.
But I’m not depressed!
Maybe you aren’t sad at all! But something still isn’t right. You might be nervous to leave the house, or afraid that you will “break the baby”. You might worry about people bringing in germs, or stress over newborn care. You might feel anxious all the time. Some women experience Postpartum Anxiety in the form of obsessive-compulsive behaviours. Postpartum anxiety is very similar to postpartum depression and treatment is often the same. If your anxiety is preventing you from enjoying your baby or impeding in your day-to-day activities, it is time to seek out help.
Toronto PPD/PPA Resources
We are very lucky here in Toronto. We have an extensive network of programs to assist new mothers when they struggle with postpartum mood disorders. Most hospitals have a program for new mothers, we’ve listed some of them below: