Updated: Nov 26, 2021
What Is Happening To Me And How Can My Partner Help?
"I am so happy to have my baby with me, so why am I crying?" After having a baby, all of the hormones that you built up in your body over the last 9 months all begin to crash at once. This can lead to overwhelming feelings of sadness and anxiety. These feelings may last for a few days or weeks, but should go away fairly quickly. If you are noticing these feelings are lingering or are turning into feelings of depression or worthlessness, this may be postpartum depression.
For 9 months, your body worked so hard to grow your baby. During those 9 months your hormones were also increasing, specifically your estrogen and progesterone. Immediately after birth, your estrogen and progesterone levels drop and your oxytocin levels rise. Oxytocin is the hormone responsible for that incredible happy and loving feeling you may experience after birth. Just as quickly as that oxytocin rises, it too drops which may leave you with some feelings of sadness. These feelings are very normal as your hormones begin to regulate once again and is often referred to as "baby blues". The best thing you can do to help relieve these feelings is ask for some help from your partner and support team. Resting when the baby is asleep is very helpful as is eating and drinking to nourish your body. Having those super helpful guests come to clean your home or do your laundry while you care for baby is another great way to help with those feelings of overwhelm.
If you are noticing that these baby blues are not going after after a few weeks postpartum or they are increasing to feelings of hopelessness or thoughts of self-harm you may be experiencing postpartum depression. Just like baby blues, postpartum depression is often caused by an imbalance of hormones, but it is lasting longer and is more intense than baby blues. There are a lot of ways to help with postpartum depression including certain medications and therapy.
Oftentimes, postpartum depression is hard to recognize in yourself. Sharing with a partner or trusted friend how you are feeling can be helpful in assessing whether or not you may need some extra support. This extra support may come in the form in delegating duties so that you can spend some time doing self care activities, hiring a postpartum doula, or possibly seeking help with a therapist. The most important thing to remember is that the sooner we recognize these feelings, the sooner we can get you the support you need; there is nothing shameful about needing some extra support.