Baby Blues or Something More?

By Nicole Silcox, LMHC, Northside Mental Health

Navigating the whirlwind of emotions that often accompany new motherhood can be overwhelming. While feelings of joy and excitement are commonly expected by others, persistent sadness, anxiety or intrusive thoughts may signal something more serious — a postpartum mood or anxiety disorder (PMADs). So how can you tell if what you’re feeling is more than just the “baby blues”?  

The duration and intensity of your feelings can be the first indicator. The baby blues typically involve mild mood swings — emotional highs and lows that typically subside within a few weeks. However, if these feelings persist beyond the first few weeks and intensify, it could be a sign of PMADs. 

Another key indicator is the impact of these feelings on your daily life. With PMADs, you may find it challenging to complete routine tasks, care for yourself or your baby, or enjoy activities you used to find pleasurable. If you’re experiencing significant disruptions in your ability to function, you could be experiencing the effects of PMADs. 

Additionally, consider the presence of other risk factors for PMADs, such as history of mental illness, lack of social support, or complications during pregnancy or childbirth. While these factors don’t guarantee the development of PMADs, they can increase your vulnerability. 

If you suspect that you may be experiencing PMADs, it’s essential to reach out for support. While many people focus on the birthing mother when talking about postpartum, it impacts the entire family system. While 1 in 7 women experience PMADs, 1 in 10 men do as well, as well as those who have recently adopted. 

If you are currently pregnant or postpartum and could use extra support, our therapists at Northside Mental Health would love to support you on the journey. Nicole Silcox, LMHC, is trained in perinatal mental health and offers individual therapy along with an ongoing postpartum support group for women. Additionally, Shannon Lohr, LCSW, works with couples and families regarding co-parenting, transition to parenthood, and postpartum guidance and support. Email info@northsidementalhealth for scheduling. With help, you will be well. 

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