Difference Between the Baby Blues and Postpartum Depression

Just days ago, celebrity Hayden Panettiere sought treatment for postpartum depression. As a mom who also struggled with postpartum depression, I’m always proud of other women who are not afraid to say that they have struggled, too. Why? Because there’s such a huge stigma attached to mental illness. It doesn’t matter that postpartum depression is not a choice; that it’s a biochemical reaction that occurs in a woman’s body that is totally out of our control.

If you mention that you are feeling down after having a baby, you’ll hear more than once that you’re just experiencing the “baby blues” or that you’re just tired and/or that you’re just overwhelmed. And that may very well be true. But it also could be so much more than that. There’s a lot of misunderstanding about what the baby blues are and what postpartum depression really is. So I wanted to share some general symptoms of both and the difference between the baby blues and postpartum depression.

The Difference Between the Baby Blues and Postpartum Depression

There is a difference between the baby blues and postpartum depression. Here are a list of symptoms, as well as places where you can find support if needed.

I have been very open about my struggles with postpartum depression as well as depression. I have a voice, and I use it to try to destroy the stigma that surrounds these diseases. I hope that this information about the difference between the baby blues and postpartum depression helps you if you need it.

Symptoms of Baby Blues

You feel like your crying “all the time”. You’re very emotional, very tired, and you may not feel a connection to your baby.

Symptoms last for about two weeks after giving birth.

You may experience mood instability, feel down, sad, irritable, anxious, and/or fear, lack of concentration, you may be afraid to be left alone with baby.

Postpartum Depression

Your symptoms last longer than two weeks after giving birth and interfere with day-to-day functioning.

You may experience all of the symptoms mentioned in baby blues, as well as changes to your eating and sleeping habits (due to feeling exhaustion). There may be a loss of interest in usual activities, or feel that you are unable to cope with your baby.

You may feel hopeless, worthless,  and/or a lack of joy (this was my big one).

You may have thoughts of harming the baby or yourself, rumination, and/or obsessive thoughts, and/or excessive worry about your baby.

Whereas the baby blues last for just a couple of weeks, postpartum depression typically emerges over the first 2-3 months after childbirth but may occur at any point after baby.

I love this article over at The Stir about 9 ways to tell the difference between the baby blues and postpartum depression. Since the symptoms are so similar, this sheds some light on how they differ.

I am NOT a doctor, and I am NOT offering any medical advice. This is a very general overview of the difference between the baby blues and postpartum depression. If you are experiencing these symptoms, please call your doctor.

And don’t be afraid to talk about it with your friends and family and ask for help. The longer people treat this as a “bad” thing, the stigma will never go away. Postpartum Progress is a great place to go for resources, help, and support if you’re experiencing the baby blues or postpartum depression. Please visit!

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