Mom's Emotional Health: Feeling the Blues in the Baby Years
Becoming a mom is a wonderful experience, and one that many women anticipate for years. When those little bundles of joy actually arrive, some moms are discouraged to find themselves struggling with moodiness and anxiety. How can this be when you've just experienced something so great?
You're Not Alone
If you are one of those moms feeling down and out, you're not alone. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that around 13% of women will experience some degree of depression during or after pregnancy. It is believed that the increased risk for emotional difficulty at these times is tied to the dramatic rise of pregnancy-related hormones during pregnancy and the sudden drop of the same in the days just after delivery.
Aside from these hormonal shifts, the life of a new mom can compound the stress and fatigue associated with depression, and makes it more difficult to diagnose. Erratic sleep schedules and the pressures of a fussy newborn can be overwhelming for anyone! For women who have another baby soon after the first, the hormonal spikes and crashes can be even more challenging, not to mention the mommy workload.
When it's Something More Serious…
Many women experience the "baby blues"—a mild to moderate episode of moodiness or anxiety that resolves on its own, usually without treatment, within a couple of weeks after delivery. If your symptoms hang around longer or develop further into the first year after childbirth, you may actually be suffering from post partum depression.
Taking care of yourself means being the best you can be for your baby. Depression responds to treatment in most cases, so don't suffer needlessly during such a special season of life.
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