Concerned
new moms often call me to ask, “Are my feelings normal
or am I depressed?”  Here are two basic guidelines to help you
differentiate between the Baby Blues and postpartum depression (PPD).

Baby
Blues are totally normal and most moms (60-80%) experience them. On the other
hand, PPD is a disorder.  As a matter of fact, postpartum depression
is the most common complication associated with childbirth. One in seven new
mothers experience this disorder.

Concerned
new moms often call me to ask, “Are my feelings normal
or am I depressed?”  Here are two basic guidelines to help you
differentiate between the Baby Blues and postpartum depression (PPD).

Baby
Blues are totally normal and most moms (60-80%) experience them. On the other
hand, PPD is a disorder.  As a matter of fact, postpartum depression
is the most common complication associated with childbirth. One in seven new
mothers experience this disorder.

There
are two main ways to differentiate Baby Blues from PPD.  First, Baby
Blues always begin in the first few days following delivery and it should be
gone by about two weeks postpartum.  The symptoms are mild – frequent
teariness, feelings of dependence and stress.  If these mild Blues
continue past two weeks postpartum, it’s now called postpartum
depression.  Duration of the symptoms is the first way to tell the
difference between the normal Blues and the disorder PPD.

Postpartum depression may begin
immediately or at any time during the first year following delivery.  Sometimes
PPD occurs when the mild Baby Blues continue and at other times the symptoms of
the Blues begin spiraling downward and becoming more serious.  Although
PPD typically peaks around three months postpartum if it’s not treated, it can
start even months after the baby is born.

Some
of the most common symptoms of postpartum depression include difficulty
sleeping at night even when everyone else is sleeping, a change in appetite,
high anxiety, hopelessness, irritability or anger, low self-esteem, lack of
energy and frequent crying.  Not every woman experiences all of these
symptoms and there are other symptoms not listed that may occur. 

What’s
most important to note is that unlike the mild Baby Blues, the severity of the
postpartum depression symptoms are bad enough that they disrupt the woman’s
ability to function.  So, if the symptoms are severe enough to get in
the way of her day, she should definitely seek help.  A mom with the
Blues typically understands this is temporary and she’ll feel like herself
again.  A mom with postpartum depression usually feels like this will
last forever, she lost herself and she’ll never get herself back.  Severity
of the symptoms is the second way to tell the difference between the Blues and
PPD.

If
you aren’t feeling like yourself after having a baby, contact a mental health professional
who specializes in this field.  If you’re experiencing the Blues,
getting some suggestions to move through it quicker will be useful.  And
if you’ve got postpartum depression, no worries!  There are simple
steps you can take to recover, and the sooner you get those in place, the
better. You deserve to feel happy and enjoy motherhood!

Originally published on YourTango.