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Baby Blues or Postpartum Depression? Knowing the Difference & Therapy for New Moms

» Mental Health Library » Disorders & Conditions » Postpartum Depression » Featured Article

By Blaire Melius Counseling LCSW PMHC

Blaire Melius Counseling LCSW PMHC

Becoming a parent can be an incredible experience, but it can also be a really hard one. Many new moms experience a wide range of emotions after birth, such as mood swings, tearfulness, and feelings of overwhelm. This is more commonly referred to as the "baby blues." Though this is very typical, occurring in approximately 80% of new moms, these emotions can sometimes evolve into something more significant - postpartum depression. So, what's the difference? And why can it be important for new moms to seek therapy?

What are the Baby Blues?

During your first few days after childbirth, it can be normal to feel emotional highs and lows, something commonly referred to as the "baby blues." You might feel overwhelmed with love and joy one minute - immediately followed by feeling overwhelm and sadness. The key thing about the baby blues is that these feelings typically resolve within a few weeks as hormones regulate and you adjust to your new life changes.

What is Postpartum Depression?

Unlike the baby blues, postpartum depression is more severe and can last significantly longer. It affects approximately 1 in 5 moms and 1 in 10 dads. Typically, postpartum depression consists of persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, guilt, loss of interest in activities, changes in your appetite and sleep patterns, difficulty bonding with your baby, and occasionally thoughts of self-harm or harming your baby. If you're experiencing these symptoms, it's really important to seek help as soon as possible.

What Does Help Look Like?

A great first step is talking with your OBGYN or medical provider. They can help you connect with a therapist and talk about your options for potential medication management. A therapist specializing in perinatal mental health can help you identify and address the underlying causes of your emotions/feelings, as well as assist you in developing coping strategies and tools to manage them. 

When Should I Seek Help?

Knowing when it's time to seek help is really important for both your well-being and the well-being of your new baby. If you find your symptoms are lasting for longer than the first few weeks postpartum, or they are worsening over time, it's a good idea to connect with a professional. Seeking help is taking a really brave step in prioritizing your mental health and ensuring you're getting what you and your baby need during this difficult time.

Therapy for New Moms in NJ:

If you're a new mom seeking therapy in New Jersey, there are many resources available to support you. Many therapists specialize in perinatal mental health and are experienced in helping mothers manage postpartum depression. A great place to look for a therapist is the Postpartum Support International Directory. You can filter by insurance type, specialties, and more.

Bottom Line:

The postpartum period can be a really difficult time physically, mentally, and emotionally. Therapy for new moms can provide the tools, support, and resources you need to better navigate these challenges. Reach out, seek help, and remember you are not alone.

About the Author...

Blaire Melius is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Perinatal Mental Health Certified mental health therapist. She has an online therapy practice serving individuals in New Jersey. She specializes in maternal mental health and anxiety.

Last Update: 7/5/2023

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