The “baby blues” is a temporary phase often within the first few weeks after birth, when the new mom may feel weepy, overwhelmed, and anxious. This emotional roller coaster of moods usually passes without postpartum treatment by about two to three weeks after delivery.
Postpartum Depression or Anxiety are mood disorders which may occur at any time during a baby’s first year and are typically more intense in experience. They tend to interfere with daily functioning and generally do not improve on their own without an intervention.
Signs of depression can often be discounted as typical “new mom” fatigue. Signs of depression can include exhaustion, changes in sleeping pattern, difficulty thinking clearly or making decisions, feeling detached or emotionally flat, feeling hopeless as if things will never get better, or having thoughts that others would be better off without you. Some women think about harming themselves or their babies. Depression is a serious illness, and there is help available to feel better. Other common postpartum mood disorders include anxiety and panic disorders and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Anxiety may feel like a constant state of dread or worry. OCD is often described as unwelcome or intrusive thoughts or behaviors that one knows are unreasonable, but are still unable to control. Sometimes those suffering with anxiety or OCD feel that their mind is racing or that they are unable to sleep, rest, or relax. Others may have unavoidable, irrational fears, and may be afraid to be left alone with the baby.