As we’ve told you before, we’re not medical experts here at girltalk. Today, we have a case in point (although I doubt you needed further evidence to convince you!). One of our readers, Christina, who happens to be a Family Nurse Practitioner emailed us and graciously explained that we got our terms wrong. What we have been referring to as “postpartum” (which is simply the recovery period following the birth of a child) is actually called “postpartum depression” or “baby blues.”
Now that we have learned the correct terminology, we’re going to fix our previous posts. (So for all of you with RSS feeds, we apologize in advance! I don’t have an RSS feed, but I assume it’s annoying to have people like us edit their previous posts, which we do on occasion!)
But this little clarification provides us with an opportunity to pass on some additional, useful information about what women may experience following the birth of their baby. Preparation is half the battle and that’s the point of this "PMS Prep" series. In his book, Blame It on the Brain, Edward T. Welch (not only uses the correct terminology, but) provides us with a concise and helpful description of “baby blues” and "postpartum depression":
“Baby blues. The baby blues is a poorly defined condition that is experienced by 50 to 70 percent of women in the first week to ten days postpartum. Rarely severe, it begins within the first three days and might be experienced as sadness, depression, feelings of wanting to cry, or rapid and unpredictable emotional fluctuations. To those who experience these emotions, the triggers are often felt to be insignificant. In fact, many women will not actually feel sad when they cry!”
“Postpartum depression. More severe and of longer duration than the blues, postpartum depression (PPD) occurs in about 10 to 15 percent of all mothers (Pitt, 1968; Watson, Elliot, Rugg & Brough, 1984). Indistinguishable from other forms of depression, it can last anywhere from two weeks to a year.”
Being equipped with this knowledge removes the element of surprise. In other words, if we feel sad for the first week to ten days after our baby is born, or even if the sadness persists, we shouldn’t be shocked. We can simply realize—“Ah, I know what’s going on here, but I also know that God has provided ‘ways of escape’ to endure this trial.”
More tomorrow on “handling our feelings as a way of escape” from postpartum depression, baby blues, or any other hormonal trials!