"Baby blues" sounds so sweet, innocent even, as cute as a baby’s bright eyes.
Don’t let the moniker fool you though. You may have something real and challenging going on inside of you even if your doctor has said you do not have postpartum depression (PPD); or even if you have read the symptoms of PPD and are confident you don’t fit that mold.
Baby blues can be, understandably, overshadowed by the more critical diagnosis of PPD, but I want to take a moment to say I see you—Yes, you, mama with the baby blues. And I acknowledge your pain.
But let’s start first with the basics, if you are unsure. PPD is serious and legitimate. It is an illness that can severely impact your daily living. Sometimes you notice the symptoms of PPD but don’t believe it. Perhaps you don’t even know you fit the mold of depression after baby. If you have any concerns, talk to your doctor and trusted family or friends. Connect with people who can support and inform you.
Mommy blues aren’t necessarily PPD, but they also aren’t without concern. You can cry, stay awake sometimes with worrying and uncertainty. You have mood swings and then you feel bad for those mood swings when you yell at your child or partner or mother-in-law, or you are exhausted and overwhelmed and feel like you must be doing something wrong because baby just will not (fill in the blank here). It’s hard. And it is okay that it is hard. It takes time to adjust, and mommy blues are a part of that.
They may take days or weeks. Perhaps even a month of adjustment is necessary. I remember hitting that stride around 6 weeks when I looked at hubby and told him, “I got this.” There may be spurts of adjustment from time to time as baby hits big, new, exciting, concerning, hard milestones (or is not hitting them as he or she “should”). It is okay to struggle in those times of transition, sometimes really struggle for short spurts. It is normal to be sad in the midst of the joys of a new baby. It takes time to become well-adjusted when you’re sleep deprived, cut and stitched or stretched and torn. This is a LOT riding on this whole new responsible-for-another-life thing called mommyhood.
But know, mommy with the baby blues, that soon you will feel well. You’ll feel generally competent, confident, content, and hopeful that things are okay or are heading in that direction. I hope you won’t feel shame for simply adjusting to a huge life change.
Share your struggles. Talk to friends, family, or other mamas. Don’t seek out the sanctimonious sort who leave you feeling worse after a conversation. Find the ones you trust, the ones who listen. Then share. Give yourself space to be in this time of transition. Instead of judging every baby-blue thought and action you have, accept them without guilt and then move forward.
Stay vigilant. While you may currently experience baby blues, contact your doctor again if any symptoms worsen or linger for longer periods of time. If symptoms begin to impair the safety of you or others, or they otherwise greatly hinder daily living (like too much anxiety to make it to the market), you are no longer dealing with baby blues. Speak to your doctor and trusted family or friends to assist you in getting the care you need and deserve.
Assuming you are still in the baby blues stage of it all, just know you got this mama. It will pass.
Lynette is a mom of three children from one year to age five. She has cloth diapered all three since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly and mindful living.