The New Baby Blues
Updated: Jul 29, 2020
By: Jeni Everts, LPC
Becoming a parent can be the most rewarding and wonderful thing to happen to a person. It is, without a doubt, life-changing. But sometimes, life-changing doesn’t always end up with all positive feelings.
“So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34.
While at first glance, this verse is a reminder to take things in grace, cast your fears on the Lord. As a parent, it can be a daunting reminder of just how many worries there are for our child(ren). Jesus said this while delivering his Sermon on the Mount. Jesus’ aim in this verse was to encourage his disciples not to worry about food, clothes, or what tomorrow may hold. Jesus’ goal for us is to not worry about the future but to focus on Him because through Him, all things are possible.
All too often, though, worry, fear, depression and anxiety manifest in new parents, especially mothers, which is known, medically, as postpartum depression. It affects nearly 3 million women a year, according to the Mayo Clinic. Postpartum depression includes feelings of sadness, worry, anxiety and anger. She may also sleep too much or too little, eat too much or too little, or not enjoy things, including her baby. Postpartum depression differs from the “baby blues” in that the feelings of depression last longer than a few weeks and the feelings she experiences interfere with her ability to take care of herself and her baby.
Postpartum depression is very treatable. While it is important for mom to see her doctor, counseling has been proven to be very effective. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, “talk therapy,” helps mom to identify her negative thoughts and beliefs, and with the help from her counselor, can address these thoughts and work to change them. The sooner mom seeks treatment, the better. Untreated postpartum depression can progress and last for months or years. It can also affect how mom and baby grow and attach, or lack of attachment. This could mean baby has problems eating and sleeping.
“Train up a child in the way he should go; Even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6. When your child(ren) see you taking care of yourself, they will learn to take care of themselves. When the family is healthy, the family is happy.