So, you’ve just given birth to your little one… but you’re not as happy as you thought you would be. In fact, you're feeling overwhelmed, very down (sometimes you cry), and you easily snap at your partner.
Majority of moms — that's 50 to 80 percent — go through postpartum baby blues, said Shoshana Bennett, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist focusing on pregnancy and postpartum depression, in an article for Psychology Today. Right after birth, a mom with baby blues will experience “mood swings, crying spells, anxiety and difficulty sleeping,” according to Mayo Clinic. The mom may also feel vulnerable, forgetful, and stressed.
“The blues should be gone by about two weeks after delivery,” said Dr. Bennett. If they continue, the condition is now called postpartum depression (PPD). PPD is also characterized by more severe symptoms, such that they interfere with the mom’s ability to take care of the baby and accomplish daily tasks. Treatment, as soon as possible, is advised for moms with PPD.
On the Smart Parenting (SP) Village Facebook group, one mom of a 1-week-old baby shared that she’s feeling very down lately. “I dunno bakit ganito yung feeling... Nalulungkot na lang ako bigla. Just wanna cure this feeling, nilalabanan ko naman pero uma-atake talaga e." Other SP Village moms were quick to sympathize and suggested that she may be going through baby blues. They offered their tips on how they, themselves, got through it.
1. “I always called my mom on the phone.”
An SP Village mom commented, “You need someone to vent it out. Yung 'di mag a-advice kundi makikinig lang sa nararamdaman mo.” A mom’s beloved partner, family members, and close friends are important—lean on them for support. “Don't surround yourself dun sa mga negative na tao, mommy. Kasi maaaring maging dahilan din sila para lumala ang nararamdaman mo, lalo na ang mga taong kinu-question ang child rearing ability natin.”
Find new mom friends that will be able to relate with what you’re going through as well. “Every mother needs support, so even if you feel you don't need professional help at the moment, make sure you're in a supportive, non-judgmental new mom's group and you're surrounding yourself with friends and others you can be ‘real’ with,” said Dr. Bennett. (You’re welcome to join Smart Parenting’s Facebook group, mom.)
2. “Break from routine — from the feeling na forever ka na lang nag-aalaga ng bata. Have a massage or foot spa or basta lumabas ka lang.”
“Go out sometimes and do things that make you happy. Lumabas kayo minsan ng hubby mo. Habilin muna si little one sa parents mo, kasi need din ng mothers to relax sometimes,” said another SP Village mom.
Always, always remember that self-care isn't indulgence—it's necessary. To be able to truly take care of your family, you must first take care of yourself. Your “breather” from parenting doesn’t need to take up a whole day. When you feel overwhelmed, even five minutes to have a glass of water alone in the kitchen or to make a quick trip to the sari-sari store can do wonders.
3. “It feels good though to see my little one growing so well under my care.”
Stay strong. “After my emergency C-section operation, I felt so helpless. Nung naka-recover na ako sa operation, I still felt depressed over a lot of things. Na-overwhelm ako ng thoughts ko... yung future ni baby and everything,” shared another mom. She continued that she felt lucky to have siblings who supported her through her hard times. Now, with her little one already 5 months old, she still gets anxious from time to time but seeing her baby growing so well lifts her spirits.
“You can do it, mommy,” said another mom talking about how baby blues are fleeting. Acknowledging the difficulty of the first few weeks, another commented, “’Di naman biro pinagdaanan natin e. If it gets worse, please don't hesitate to seek professional help or tell your ob para ma-refer ka niya.”