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Baby Blues

 

You are not alone.  Almost two thirds of mothers feel down after child birth. 

Friday, August 25th, 2017

Almost two thirds of mothers feel down in the dumps after childbirth. This figure, even if it doesn't console you, reflects reality: you are not the only woman to experience the much-talked-about baby blues. The snag is that we've all heard about the "baby blues" without actually measuring the implications. Most women prefer to forget this dark period during which they feel fat and ugly, convinced of their inability to "measure up". Our advice to help you through this transition... and to put things into perspective!

Why am I crying all the time?

The symptoms of baby blues vary from one woman to another. Some burst into tears or get angry at the slightest issue, others do not enjoy cuddling their baby, and others feel tired to such an extent they feel they do not want to get out of bed… Rest assured, these feelings are temporary, and last between a few hours to no more than around ten days.

The baby blues period marks a transition: mother and baby are no longer but one! The euphoria of the birth peters out bringing low mood, fatigue, poor self-image and panic faced with your new responsibilities, mood swings, insomnia etc.

The baby blues generally occurs between the third and tenth day after the birth and is also sometimes called the "third-day blues". It is triggered by the sudden drop in hormones typical during this period. Added to this are feelings of "emptiness" after childbirth, a baby that needs almost round-the-clock attention, your new responsibilities as mum… so it is easy to understand why you feel down.

Simple tips to help you smile again

Everything should be fine and dandy… but you find yourself lounging around in your pyjamas all day, your heart in your boots. What if, instead of feeling guilty, you allowed yourself this time? Rest is an absolute priority after childbirth, as much for recovering physically as emotionally, but it's easier said than done. Ask for help from those around you! Leave the shopping, the housework, cooking and paperwork to your partner or mother and focus on your own needs, at least for a few days.

Taking care of yourself means finding quiet moments for nobody but you. Baby's asleep? Make the most of it to take a long bubble bath… Baby has just been fed? Go out for a coffee with your best friend! Dad can mind the baby and you can be back in plenty of time for the next feed…

You must also not be reluctant to discuss your feelings. Your best friend won't hold it against you even if you phone three times a day, especially if she already has children, she may have been through the same experience!

Finally, cuddle your baby as often as possible. You see, you feel better already!

Baby blues or full-blown depression?

If your baby blues lasts more than three weeks or begins more than fifteen days after the birth, then you may be suffering from another disorder. If nothing makes you smile, including rest or visits from close family and friends, or the baby's first smiles, if you have lost your appetite and are only seeing the dark side of things, you must seek help and discuss your feelings with your gynaecologist.

Your low mood may not be simply related to a drop in hormone levels but may be the sign of postnatal depression. Medical treatment and support will more than likely be necessary. The earlier it is detected, the more effective the treatment.

Dad's can get the baby blues too!

Women are not the only ones to feel down in the dumps. Men can feel a little lost too for a number of reasons. The stress of their new responsibilities as a dad, fear of not measuring up, feeling left out, fatigue… They sometimes experience these feelings even before their child is born!

The best solution is to talk about your feelings and to get some rest. As mum you also have an essential role to play here. It is obvious that your baby will take a lot of your time to begin with but you must also make time for your partner, and reassure him in his new role of father.

Seek help!

If you are feeling distressed, or know someone who is feeling suicidal, get help immediately.  Talk to somebody.

  • Samaritans of Singapore (SOS)

1800 221 4444 (24 hour hotline manned by trained volunteers)

  • Singapore Association for Mental Health (SAMH)

1800 283 7019 (Toll free)

To seek medical help for Postnatal depression, please contact KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital at www.kkh.com.sg

+65 6394 2205 (Enquiries for Perinatal Depression Support Group)

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