Three terms are used to explain the mood changes mothers experience after birth of the child:
- 70% of the new mothers experience “baby blues’ ‘ immediately after childbirth. The mother face sudden mood swings, like extreme happiness at one moment and extreme sadness at the next moment. Crying for no reason, impatience, restlessness, cranky, lonely and sad. However, the baby blues may continue for a few hours or for 1-2 weeks after childbirth. Usually, there is no need for a woman to get treatment for baby blues. Often, talking to other mothers or joining a support group helps.
- Postpartum depression (PPD) may happen after a few days or months of delivery. A mother can experience PPD following the birth of any child, not necessarily the first child. The feelings are similar to what a mother feels in baby blues – despair, sadness, crankiness, anxiety – but these feelings are much more stronger in PPD. It often disrupts your normal functioning. This is the time you need to seek professional help. The symptoms worsen with time if the PPD remains untreated.
- Postpartum psychosis is an extremely serious mental illness affecting new mothers. It occurs within the first three months of delivery. The symptoms include losing touch with reality, auditory hallucinations and delusional behavior. Visual hallucinations are uncommon in this. Some other prominent symptoms are agitation and anger, insomnia, restlessness, pacing, and weird behaviors and feelings. Such women need treatment right away. At times, institutional care is also needed as they may themselves or others.