I think in general, conversations are so powerful and transformative. It is very beneficial to become educated so that even if you're not a mother, you can reach out to a mother and support this mama through her journey. What if your support makes all the difference?
It has been surmised that if a mama is to experience any bouts with depression and anxiety that they will surface during pregnancy as well as immediately afterwards. My teacher shared that this is in large part because so many hormones are released at birth and the mood center of the brain is located next to the endocrine system in the brain. How does one distinguish between a case of the common ‘baby blues’ and postpartum depression (PPD)?
According to an article in Psychology today by Shoshana Bennett Ph.D (2009), there are two ways to determine if a woman is dealing with PPD or the baby blues:
- “First, the Blues are considered to be normal. They don't feel good, but they are mild and transient. Most moms - 50 to 80 percent -- experience some ups and downs, weepiness, vulnerability, forgetfulness, and stress when their babies are born. The Blues should be gone by about two weeks after delivery.
- Second, if the symptoms are severe enough to get in the way of normal functioning, even if they occur during the first two weeks postpartum, it is considered to be PPD. So, if you're experiencing symptoms such as a loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping at night when the baby sleeps, hopelessness, poor concentration, anxiety, anger, deep sadness, low self esteem, overwhelm, or lack of energy (that rest doesn't take care of), don't wait. Get help right away.”
Per the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), “Postpartum depression does not have a single cause, but likely results from a combination of physical and emotional factors. Postpartum depression does not occur because of something a mother does or does not do.”
As I was talking to my teacher and mentor Tom, he shared that he was in charge of the PPD program at Case Western Reserve. According to his research and field work, he shared that baby blues last no more than two weeks in length, and at certain points of the day, mothers find relief. Baby blues last anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours. In contrast he shared that PPD's onset is can range anywhere from three to six months postpartum, and during this time, there is no positive affect at all.
I am very new to this topic, but feel its importance very deeply in my heart. Lets become educated about things that we are passionate about. Wishing all the mama's out there support and courage as they walk down the path of motherhood.
May You Sweetly Seek:)