What is Postpartum Adjustment?
Women can experience a wide range of emotions after having a baby due to hormonal changes, lifestyle changes and personal expectations of motherhood. Caring for the newborn may be more difficult than imagined. Many new mothers feel exhausted, overwhelmed and isolated. They may feel a sense of loss of their former work and social lives. Husbands often are not sure how to be helpful. He and other family members can help by being especially attuned to the new mother’s needs. This is a difficult time for many parents.
The Baby Blues
During the first week after giving birth, about 85% of mothers may experience the “Baby Blues”. Symptoms include:
- Sudden Sadness
- Low Self-Esteem
- Feelings Improve in a Few Days
Postpartum Emotions &
Fathers also have adjustments at this time. The new baby is the center of attention. Babies bring many wonderful things into our lives. They also bring more responsibility, added bills and less free time as a couple. This is a special opportunity to strengthen the marriage with mutual caring and love. Now is the time to share your feelings openly and listen to one another. If you are having trouble doing this, short term marriage counseling may be needed.
About 15% of mothers, or 1 in 7, suffer from postpartum depression. This is a serious and often misunderstood disorder which may include:
- Anxiety and/or Panic Attacks
- Frequent Crying
- Disinterest in the Baby
- Deep Despondency
- Fear of Harming the Baby
- Suicidal Thoughts
- Irrational Thoughts
If any of these symptoms are present please call the Family Counseling Center of the Oaks immediately! If not treated, postpartum depression can worsen and continue for years.
This is a very serious and dangerous disorder experienced by some new mothers, fortunately at the low rate of 1 in 1000. A mother suffering from postpartum psychosis will exhibit signs of being out of touch with reality such as hallucinations and paranoia. Do not delay calling us, immediate treatment is necessary!
Family Counseling Center of the Oaks
Specialists in Postpartum
Licensed Marriage & Family
Serving So. California for 30 Years
In Westlake Village
Ron Soderquist, MFT, Ph.D.