Post Partum Adjustment

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We Have a Baby – Now What?

The 4th Trimester

A lot of attention gets paid to the experience of pregnancy and getting ready for labor and delivery. Not enough attention gets focused on what happens after the baby is born. Having a baby, caring for a newborn, is often wonderful, but also it can be extremely difficult. It’s a huge change in one’s life.  It is bound to be different and harder than you expect – no matter how prepared you might be. The post-partum adjustment period may sometimes be called “the 4th trimester,” but it doesn’t necessarily last only three months.

Post-partum mood disorders may start anytime within the first year after having a baby.

What’s Going On? Why Do I Feel This Way?

The Baby Blues

We may find ourselves frequently crying for no apparent reason, we have difficulty concentrating, our moods may swing from overjoyed to sad to worried to irritable, and we feel scared and needy.

This describes the “baby blues”. Nearly 80% of new mothers experience these feelings.

Because the baby blues are so common, they are considered a normal reaction to having a baby.

These feelings and behaviors start within the first week postpartum, around the time one’s milk comes in. The baby blues may last for a few weeks and then, the symptoms evaporate.

When it’s More Than the Baby Blues

It wasn’t supposed to be like this. You wonder, “Why am I not happy?” You worry, “I must be a terrible mother.” You are racked with self-blame and guilt, and fear you are the only one.  Not everyone is automatically happy to be a parent and not everyone immediately experiences loving feelings and a sense of attachment with their baby. It can take time to adjust.

Post-partum depression is the most common perinatal mood disorder.
Some of the symptoms include:

  • irritability
  • low mood
  • sleep disturbance – not being able to sleep even when tired
  • guilt, despair, worthlessness
  • thinking that your baby and family are better off without you
  • no thoughts of harming baby
  • lasts 2 weeks or longer

Take The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) Self-Test

Contact Davida is you have any questions or concerns after taking this test.

Hear from Women Who Have Struggled with Post-Partum Mood Disorders – An Excerpt from postpartum Support International’s (PSI) video, “Healthy Mom, Happy Family”

Post-Partum Depression for New Fathers

Fathers Respond to Perinatal and Postpartum Mood Disorders

When a new mom suffers from a post-partum adjustment disorder, the father faces not only his own full range of feelings about being a new parent, but also questions and concerns about what is happening with his partner.  Often, he is just as confused and concerned about what is happening as is the new mom. He may experience feelings of confusion, worry, stress and overwhelm, sadness and anger. Hear what some new dads said about seeing their wives struggle with a post-partum mood disorder in PSI’s video:

When Dad is Depressed

New moms are not the only ones who can suffer from a post-partum adjustment disorder.  New dads can too.  Watch this segment from Good Morning America (2010) to learn about Paternal Post Natal Depression:

If you or your partner is suffering from a post-partum adjustment disorder, know that you are not alone. Help is available and eventually, you will feel better.

Davida can help new moms and couples cope with the stress and challenges of dealing with the struggles inherent in post-partum adjustment.

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