Having a baby can leave you feeling elated, overjoyed, and sometimes kind of bummed out. For better or worse, this sadder side of childbirth is often glossed over, meaning these crappy feelings take many new moms by surprise. That's why it's a good idea to be on the lookout for early signs of the baby blues. Because feeling a bit down during this momentous time of your life is, for many reasons, completely normal.
Although the exact cause is unknown, up to 80 percent of new moms will deal with some negative feelings in the wake of childbirth, according to the American Pregnancy Association (APA). As speculated by the APA, the baby blues may be due to hormonal changes, sleep deprivation, and the general life changes associated with bringing a new baby into the world. Thankfully, these feelings tend to go away a week or two after childbirth, as further noted by the APA.
That said, if you feel exceptionally overwhelmed after the birth of your child, or your symptoms go on for more than 14 days after birth, then you may be dealing with postpartum depression. In fact, knowing the difference between the baby blues and postpartum depression is a crucial distinction for all new moms and their loved ones. But even if you are just dealing with the baby blues, it's no reason to disregard your feelings. You're still under a tremendous amount of pressure. With this in mind, it's smart to know the signs of the baby blues, so you can be sure to take care of yourself during this beautiful but stressful period of life.
1. You Have Trouble Sleeping
Are you completely exhausted but unable to sleep whenever you get the (rare) chance to do so? It's a pretty typical reaction. According to the Mayo Clinic, sleeping troubles are a common sign of the baby blues. If the lack of sleep is bothering you, there are some tips you can try to get more sleep as a new mom.
2. You Go Through Crying Jags
If you're turning on the waterworks more than normal, it's a totally reasonable response. Even if you're usually on the stoic side, having a baby may cause you to feel weepy, as noted on Baby Center. And why the hell not? You just brought a new life into the world, and you're probably exhausted from delivery. Some tears may be expected.
3. You Have Anxiety & Worry
At some point after the delivery, you may be struck by the all-encompassing nature of child care. Your baby depends on you to meet all basic needs, but you're so, so tired. In this case, feeling worried about the magnitude of caring for your small child is a common effect of the baby blues, as noted in Babble. But the truth is: you got this, momma.
4. You're Irritable
Are your nerves easily rattled? According to NHS, irritability is a common symptom of the baby blues. But seriously: what saint of a person could endure an hours-long labor and come out on the other side all smiles and sunshine?
5. Your Emotions Are Heightened
For some mothers, the baby blues don't necessarily mean you're feeling blue; you're feeling everything at a higher pitch. According to WebMD, it's common for new mothers to feel heightened emotions after giving birth. This is totally understandable, because bringing new life into the world is a big deal.
6. You're Lost Your Appetite
Many women are ravenous after the intense ordeal of childbirth. But for others, food may be the last thing on their mind. According to the Office on Women's Health, appetite loss is another common symptom of the baby blues. (But seriously: it's hard for some people to work up an appetite for hospital food).
7. You're Confused
Wait, what is going on exactly? As noted in the March of Dimes, confusion is a common experience for many women who have just given birth. It may take a little while for you to embrace your new normal.
8. You Go Through Emotional Ups & Downs
One minute you're gazing into your newborn's eyes with all the love in the world. The next minute, you're completely annoyed by some minor passing thought. These emotional highs and lows are common for postpartum moms, as noted in Psych Central. Your body is hitting the reset button so to speak, and your mind is still working to accept the reality of motherhood.
9. You Can't Concentrate
Can't focus? It's understandable. You just had a baby: of course you're at least a little flustered. And as noted by WebMD, poor concentration is another typical sign of the baby blues. Fortunately, it won't last forever, and you'll be able to regain your focus soon enough. In the meantime, hopefully the baby blues will not totally upset your first few days with your little one.