Typically, every mother of a newborn baby expects to feel joy and excitement over the new birth. But when she doesn’t, she initially feels immense guilt and confusion. Soon she can develop many unwanted symptoms.
- The “Baby Blues:” From three to five days after birth up to two weeks, approximately 70% of new mothers experience the following symptoms: Sudden mood changes; Frequent unexplained crying; A sense of loss; Guilt over not bonding with her baby; Irritability, anger; Changes in sleeping and eating; Lack of concentration; Lethargy.
- Postpartum Depression: Experienced by up to 20 % of birth mothers, Postpartum Depression is distinguished from the “baby blues” both by its long duration and the debilitating indifference of the mother toward herself and her children. Symptoms of Postpartum Depression: Excessive concern for the baby because she senses something is wrong with her own feelings about being a mother; A lack of interest in her baby, a feeling of being trapped; Emotional numbness, sadness, fatigue; Withdrawal from family and friends; Little or no feeling of love for the baby or for the rest of her family; Change in appetite; Significant weight loss or gain; Anxiety or panic attacks’
- Postpartum Psychosis: A life-threatening depression affecting one or two of every 1,000 birth mothers. Symptoms: Having strange thoughts/making strange statements; Feeling agitated or angry toward her baby and family; Overly critical of her ability to be a good mother; Thoughts of harming herself or the baby; Paranoia, confusion, disorientation; Voices and/or visions of satan/demons attacking her ability to be a good mother; Delusions that the baby is demon possessed; Hallucinations commanding her to kill the baby (infanticide)
The mother struggling with postpartum psychosis could feel that these words are hers … “The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came upon me; I was overcome by trouble and sorrow.” (Psalm 116:3)