How To Recognize Baby Blues or Postpartum Depression

Baby Blues or Postpartum Depression (PPD) is an illness that affects approximately 15% of all women during their lifetime. Mainly the condition affects new mothers who are not accustomed to having a baby. The condition can come entirely out of the blue when the mother is not expecting it. It is a debilitating illness causing symptoms like sadness, depression, anger and rage, and paranoid thinking.

What is baby blues?

The baby blues or postpartum depression is an illness that affects mothers after they give birth. After giving birth, the hormones have not adjusted yet from birth, affecting women in different ways – such as mood swings, sadness, depression, anger, frustration, nightmares, and evil thoughts. Generally, it lasts around two weeks but can last a lot longer, with some women reporting that they have depression for 2.5 years after giving birth. Often when women have a second or third child, they may get the baby blues again. When a mother gives birth a second or third time around, it is much easier to diagnose and treat, and the mother feels more comfortable seeking help.

What are the symptoms of Postpartum Depression?

Many different symptoms can occur when women have the baby blues, such as:

  • Depression and mood swings – an overwhelming sense of sadness and ups and downs
  • Insomnia – not falling asleep quickly or not being able to get back to sleep when woken up
  • Difficulty bonding with child – lack of emotion towards your child
  • Fatigue or loss of energy – feeling tired all the time
  • Withdrawing from friends and/or family – not spending as much time with friends or family
  • Catastrophic and thinking evil thoughts – imagine you or your child being hurt or killed
  • Feeling worthless and ashamed – feeling like you aren’t good enough and feeling ashamed of your feelings and emotions
  • Crying spells – crying easily when things become too much
  • Loss of appetite or eating much more than average – you may eat a lot less or eat more depending on how you feel
  • Reduced interest in once pleasurable activities – you may not feel like partaking in hobbies, going on outings, or leaving the house
  • Anger and/or unwanted thoughts of harming yourself or your baby – you may feel angry at times and then worry about hurting yourself or your baby, even though you have no intentions of doing anything bad

Some women also experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after a particularly traumatic birth, which can also further complicate things. PPD also overlaps with anxiety, and some women feel quite anxious around their babies. In some cases, women can also develop psychosis, but this is very rare.

When to seek help?

You should always seek help from a medical professional whenever things become out of control. Having uncontrollable rage, for example, is a symptom where you need to seek immediate medical intervention. You do not wish to harm yourself or your child, but the thoughts may keep coming, making you feel out of control. If you feel unfortunate and depressed and you can’t manage to go about your day, this could be another sign that you need some help. If your symptoms are distressing you somehow, it is essential to seek help as soon as possible. The sooner you seek help, the sooner you can start your treatment.

What are some stories of women who have gone through it?

When you go online, you start to realize mothers are openly discussing this illness. It was once was considered a taboo subject in the last 50 years or so. But, now there is a greater understanding of the illness and overall awareness too. Whether it is a Facebook mothers group or a mother’s blog, there is a lot of information available on the topic.

Some quotes I was able to find from mothers which shows what mother’s experience during PPD is detailed below:

“I should have recognized the symptoms immediately and visited my doctor at the first signs since previous depression increases the risk of PPD. I didn’t talk to friends and family because I felt they wouldn’t understand PPD. And I felt conflicted because I couldn’t understand why I was feeling depressed. I had every reason to be happy between my baby, husband, and new home. But I didn’t want to hear about how grateful I should be. All my life, I wanted to have a family, yet I couldn’t be happy about it. What was wrong with me?”— Maria Lianos-Carbone, author of Oh Baby! A Mom’s Self-Care Survival Guide for the First Year and blogger at, Toronto, Ontario

 “I didn’t have PPD with my first child, but my second child. Pepper’s birth was a traumatic, life-altering moment. Shortly after arriving home, I began having horrible nightmares. I wouldn’t let Pepper out of my sight. I worried constantly; if we went for a walk, I would envision my kids getting hit by a car. It was paralyzing. I could not control my emotions or get the thoughts out of my head. It’s almost as if something had taken over my body.”— Jeni Elizabeth Bianco, network and celebrity wardrobe stylist

 “If postpartum depression had one distinguishing characteristic, it would be that I felt totally like my mind and body were not in my control. My thought patterns were totally irrational, and I felt smothered and heavy like I couldn’t breathe. That feeling, along with the inability to sleep, wore me down until I WAS depressed, and, like a cliche, couldn’t stop crying.”– Melanie, mother 

 As you can see, the symptoms are similar but also can vary from mother to mother. Ranging from feeling scared that your child could be hurt, feeling intense sadness (even when you may be happily married and feel positive thoughts towards having a child). In many cases, these feelings continue to plague these mothers until they seek assistance from a medical professional.

What can you do about it?

Some of the strategies women with baby blues have successfully tried include:

Talking with a medical professional

Speaking with a Doctor will be the best thing you can do. Admitting you need help is always the first step.

Psychological interventions and counseling

Getting a trained psychologist or even a counselor to help you work through your feelings and emotions in a safe place where there is no judgment.


Medication, particularly anti-depressants, is another excellent option for women who feel their brains are out of balance. The medication helps balance the neurotransmitters like serotonin to experience a happiness/elevated mood again.

Talking to friends and family about the issue

When you talk to friends and family openly without fear of judgment, it allows people to help you when you need help. Only share this with trusted people, though, as some may not react in the right way.

Asking their spouse for extra help with the baby

You may need additional assistance during the day or night to help with feeding and diaper changing or other things. Asking your spouse to help you will free you up so you can focus on improving your health in the short term.


Meditation and taking time out for self-medication and other self-care activities will also help you de-stress and feel more balanced.

Getting extra sleep

You could also be cranky because of a lack of sleep, so getting extra sleep might help to refresh you.

Not over-scheduling yourself and taking it more accessible

Choosing not to return to work as fast and spending more time relaxing may be what you need. Going back to work might make you feel overwhelmed, and right now, it is more important to focus on your health.

Although one of these strategies may work the best for you, it is advised to try a few different strategies at the same time for the best outcome. But with all things considered, the best place to start is talking openly with your doctor and admitting to them that you need help. Doctors can point you in the right direction, depending on the particular symptoms you are suffering with. They can refer you to a specialist counselor or write a script for medication. If you don’t feel comfortable going to a Doctor, I would advise you to take a close friend or family member with you to your medical appointment.


We have explored the topic of baby blues and PPD in this article. I hope that you have a better understanding of the illness, its symptoms and what you can do if you are experiencing any of these symptoms. At all times, if in doubt, consult a medical professional so they can provide you with expert advice. Having the baby blues is nothing to be ashamed of, and many women worldwide from various backgrounds and walks of life experience it. Where possible, seek assistance as soon as you can.

If you or someone you know needs help, call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can also text HELLO to 741-741 for free, 24-hour support from the Crisis Text Line. Outside of the U.S., please visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention for a database of resources.

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