The Baby Blues and Postpartum Depression


Many new mothers experience a time of sadness and even depression. Ryan Geertsma and Ruby Jones share information about this time of sadness, called the baby blues, or postpartum depression.

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Transcript


Voice 1

Hello, I’m Ryan Geertsma.

Voice 2

And I’m Ruby Jones. Thank you for joining us for today’s Spotlight program.

Voice 3

“I had my first and only child in 2001. I went through a long labour and delivery - about 26 hours. My parents came to stay with me for a week to help with the baby. Things were going well and then all of the sudden, when my parents were walking out the door... I could not breathe, my heart was beating very fast, I was completely confused and I started crying uncontrollably. My husband said it was just hormones and that it was a normal thing for me to be going through.

But I could not eat anything. And within a few weeks I was smaller than I was before I was pregnant. All I did all day was sit and look at the clock waiting for my husband to come home. I had to force myself to pick up my crying daughter and hold her and feed her. I did not feel like a proud mother. And with that, I felt so guilty. I actually thought about giving my daughter up for adoption. I thought anyone would be a better mother to her than me. I just wanted to run away to start over.”

Voice 1

These are the thoughts of a woman named Heidi. Like many women, Heidi experienced a time of depression after giving birth to a baby. A short time of sadness is normal immediately after the birth of a baby.

Voice 2

This is because a new mother’s body is changing. Hormones are natural body chemicals. They affect a person’s moods, or emotions and ways of thinking. During and after pregnancy, hormone levels change a lot. So, a woman may change moods often. This can be difficult for her, and the people around her to deal with.

Voice 1

Many people call this time ‘the baby blues.’ But some women experience much more than just the baby blues. They experience a deeper and more frightening and severe sadness. They experience postpartum, or ‘after birth’ depression.

Voice 2

Today’s Spotlight program will give you information on the baby blues and postpartum depression. In a future Spotlight program we will share information on possible ways to treat them.

Voice 1

For many people around the world, having a baby is a wonderful thing. It can be a time of intense happiness. But this time can also be full of emotional and physical pressure, or stress.

Voice 2

Besides changes to her body, a woman also experiences many changes in her normal life. Caring for a baby is not easy. A new mother must learn how to care for her new baby. And she is not always sure about the right thing to do. Does the baby’s crying mean he is hungry? Or could it mean he is tired? Often, the baby awakes in the middle of the night. So, a new mother does not get enough sleep. These changes in her life can also affect a new mother’s relationship with her husband.

Voice 1

There are many pressures for a new mother to deal with. And she may not know if she can deal with these pressures. At this time, a woman is at risk for developing emotional or mental disorders, or problems. There are three different kinds of postpartum psychological disorders recognized by the World Health Organization, the WHO.

Voice 2

The first is called the postpartum blues, or the baby blues. The baby blues develop almost immediately after birth. A new mother experiencing the baby blues may be sad. She may cry for a long time for no reason at all. Or she may become angry easily, have aches and pains in her body, or not be able to sleep. She may also worry a lot. These mood changes can last up to ten days. But they often disappear quickly. Thirty to seventy 70 percent of new mothers experience the baby blues after birth.

Voice 1

If the ‘baby blues’ do not disappear after about ten days, the problem may be more serious. The second postpartum psychological disorder is called postpartum depression. Postpartum depression is more intense and longer-lasting than the baby blues. And it can appear even up to six months after the baby is born.

Voice 2

A new mother suffering from postpartum depression may feel hopeless. She may not feel interest in life. She may not enjoy things she enjoyed before having a baby. She may not be able to sleep, eat, talk or think clearly. Often, a new mother experiencing postpartum depression feels like she does not deserve a baby. She may believe the baby would be better with a different mother. In some cases, she may even imagine killing herself or her new baby.

Voice 1

The WHO says that up to 34 percent of women experience postpartum depression. If it is identified early, it is easier to treat. More than 2/3 of affected women can recover within a year.

Voice 2

Still more serious is the third kind of postpartum psychological disorder - postpartum psychosis. Only about one percent of new mothers experience postpartum psychosis. And half of these mothers have already suffered from other mental sicknesses. A mother’s postpartum psychosis often begins when her baby is born. The mother may experience many of the same effects as postpartum depression. But she may also experience other, more frightening effects. She may see or hear things that do not exist. Her mind may tell her that her baby is damaged or evil. She may think that the only way to escape is to kill herself or her baby. Sometimes new mothers even act on these thoughts.

Voice 1

The WHO, recognizes that the baby blues and postpartum depression can be very serious. They are mental sicknesses. A new mother does not choose to feel this way. And she cannot just change the way she is thinking. She needs help and support from family members. Sometimes she may need a doctor’s help. In a future Spotlight program we will tell about some ways to treat the baby blues.

Voice 2

In the beginning of this program we told you about a woman named Heidi. Heidi discovered that she was suffering from postpartum depression. Heidi knew she had a problem. She looked for information about the baby blues and postpartum depression. She was also able to visit a doctor. The doctor gave Heidi medicine. This medicine helped her mind become normal again. She knows that postpartum depression is terrible. But she also knows that it can be stopped. She hopes that her story can help other new mothers to get help and stay strong. She writes:

Voice 3

“Postpartum depression was definitely the hardest thing I have ever had to go through. But I just kept telling myself “this too will pass.’ Once you know there is a problem, you can educate yourself on how to solve it. With knowledge and medication I was able to feel like my old self again. I was able to enjoy my daughter and my life. I still feel guilty for being so clouded during the first months of her life, but I know I am a better person for this experience... If my daughter or even generations after her go through this, my story will be there for them.”

Voice 1

Visit our website at www.radioenglish.net. This program is called “The Baby Blues and Postpartum Depression.” Goodbye!

Heidi’s words were adapted into Specialized English for this program.

Question:

Have you ever experienced the baby blues? How can people support new mothers?

Comments


Avatar Spotlight
Honneur
said on August 19, 2019

I am very sorry, but I do not believe in this type of disease. I am very very well informed man and during all my life, I and the women I know did not hear about women with postpartum depression.  Suddenly, newspapers and TV start talking about the new disease…

Severino Ramos da Silva's avatar
Severino Ramos da Silva
said on August 22, 2019

From .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) ( Severino Ramos )
To spotlight program
Subject answer the questions below
Date Thursday 22, August 2019
São Paulo SP Brazil

Dear Ruby Jones and Ryan Geertsma:

Thank you for producing more one great and important article for us Brazilian people and other people around the World.
Question 1 - Have you ever experienced the baby blues?
Answer 1 - Yes, I have. I am nurse and I work for a hospital and sometimes appear one case of baby blues.
Question 2 - How can people support new mothers?
Answer 2 - I think we should have much patience with her. Also, a psychologist, a nurse, a doctor and his prescrition of medicines is a very important way to support her.
Your regards,
Severino Ramos
God Bless you