Postpartum Depression

postpartum depressionRecently, I became a mother once again.  Once again, this baby had severe reflux.  Once again, our life was turned upside down.  Yes, a new baby will do that.  A sick new baby that cries and writhes in pain for hours and hours on end will do that big time.
I am grateful, very grateful for another healthy baby.  It's just hard, really, really hard to recover from a c-section, help a baby in pain & still be a mother to another child.  After all, the world keeps spinning; homework needs to be done and the home still needs upkeep.
Hormonally, I was also emotional. I was feeling sad at what was & sad at what is now.  Yet, I was grateful.  And I was keenly aware that it would all get better.   In fact, it would be better than before. So, why did I still get moments of sadness?  Suddenly, it dawned on me that once again, I had the Baby Blues.  I had it after the birth of my son.  It lasted about 3 weeks before I improved.  And I  finally returned to "me" at 6 weeks postpartum.  It may not seem like a long time.  However, when your mind is stuck in a trap, it feels never-ending.  Support of family and friends has been critical to my sanity.  Without it, I'd suffer so much more.  So, here's a big thank you to all who have helped in many little and big ways.
This is just a reminder to all new moms and dads to be aware of the Baby Blues, Postpartum Depression & even the not-so-common Postpartum Psychosis.  The Baby Blues typically last about 1-2 weeks and start within the first few days after delivery. Postpartum Depression typically lasts longer than 3 weeks.  Also, Postpartum Depression may not start immediately after birth; it and can start anywhere from 6-12 months after delivery.
Be watchful of the signs of Postpartum Depression.  If you or the new mom is showing any signs of depression, loss of appetite, or difficulty sleeping even when baby us asleep, consider discussing it with her OB/GYN or her regular doctor. There is help available.  Also get help from those around you. Meals, kind words & reassurance can make a big difference.
For more information about Baby Blues and Postpartum Depression, including signs and symptoms and available treatment options, please go to http://bit.ly/Qc9wj5.

Overwhelmed with a New Baby?

Today, I had a wonderful opportunity to help a new mother.  She was loving, concerned, and asked many appropriate questions.  Interestingly enough, I've noticed that more and more mothers are using their Blackberry's as a resource.  This mother "wrote" all her questions in her Blackberry.  Daddy was in the room, supportive and patient.  They warned me when a entered the room, "Mommy has a lot of questions."
I was very impressed, she had her Blackberry question list in her right hand as she breastfed her new infant son on the left.  Talk about multi-tasking!  Her questions included the topics of feeding, breast milk, formula, sleeping, clothing, sleepwear, daywear, etc.  She was very apologetic.  I had to reiterate to her that there was no need to apologize.  A new mother with unanswered questions is a woman with unabated anxiety.  She smiled and pressed on.  She thanked me at the end.  Then, she said the most important thing of all, "I'm overwhelmed."
It was very honest and welcomed.  Admitting you are overwhelmed is the first step towards finding a solution.  I agreed with her - having a newborn is overwhelming, especially as a first time mother.  Most mothers don't admit it because they feel inadequate if they do so.  After all, how many mommy's do you know of admit that they are tired and overwhelmed with a baby that's only 4 days old.  I let her know that she was a wonderful mother at only 4 days old!  She knew what questions she needed answered.  She made a list and asked me all of them.  To boot, she really was taking excellent care of him.  She couldn't possibly do more.

I advised her to keep writing her question list for each visit.  It is a pediatrician's role to answer questions & educate a mother, so that she can be the best mother she can be.  In the process, she will feel more confident and be able to rest more peacefully.  When searching for a pediatrician, I advise you ask if time is taken to answer your newborn questions, so you can feel the same.

She thanked me and agreed, "I feel more relaxed."  Then, she asked, "How long until the next visit?"  He'll be back at two weeks old.  The look on her face was that of relief; I could almost hear her say, 'Whew!  It's not so far off.'  She'll be here with her Blackberry list and a smile.

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