Bringing a brand new person into the world and getting to spend time with your little one can be the most beautiful experience after the rollercoaster of emotions that is pregnancy and childbirth. However, for some women adjusting to life after childbirth isn’t so rosy, as many women experience one or multiple postpartum mood disorders. These kinds of disorders can make new mothers feel alone and some may not even speak up due to feelings of guilt and shame. Knowing some of the common symptoms for some of these disorders may help someone feel less alone and encourage women to seek help.
Due to changes in the body after childbirth, a woman's hormone levels drastically change, this is what causes the moodiness many women experience once they give birth, and while mood disorders are common, some will only experience something called “baby blues”. While the baby blues can have similar symptoms to postpartum depression, such as feelings of sadness, anxiety, and difficulty bonding with your baby, it’s not considered to be a severe mood disorder as the symptoms should only last for a few weeks after giving birth. However, if symptoms do last longer than a few weeks it may be time to seek professional help. The most common mood disorders include postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety, postpartum PTSD, and postpartum psychosis.
On our FindSisterhood app under our Postpartum Spotlight, Flor Reyes, community organizer for Mommies Unidas, answers some questions about postpartum life and shares her experiences with postpartum depression and anxiety. One of the more popular topics revolved around women's feelings about spending hours alone at home and losing themselves. Reyes suggested that having that “me time” is a very important factor for overall mental health and happiness. She also suggested getting out there and meeting up with new moms with your baby. This will help you build a sense of community which in turn will help you realize that moms are going through the same thing you are.
Basic physiological needs are also important and shouldn't be completely neglected because you’re a new mom. One of the simple ways to avoid this is by giving yourself a break as often as you can. Don’t feel guilty if you need to nap instead of doing chores and ask for help when you need it. And remember taking care of yourself is also a part of taking care of your baby and you won't be at your best if you’re not taking care of your body.