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Episode 35: Postpartum Emotional Recovery

postpartum Mar 18, 2022

Last week we discussed physical recovery postpartum, this week we are discussing what to expect, emotionally. 

Postpartum can be a fraught time in terms of emotions. The same hormonal shift we discussed last week as a physical element of postpartum recovery, has implications for emotional recovery. 

In this week's video we discuss typical emotional experiences postpartum, and when to know if your experiences may be veering into a postpartum mood disorder.

Above all, if you find your emotional symptoms stick around more than a week or so after you give birth, please seek help. There is no need to suffer. Postpartum Mood Disorders can feel AWFUL for the person suffering. Postpartum Mood Disorders can be treated with therapy, support groups, medication, or a combination of all three. 

Prepare for your postpartum physical and emotional recovery by collecting resources ahead of time, and planning a community of support and help.  

Full Transcript:

[00:00:00] Hello, and welcome to the next episode of your free weekly, Brave Journey Birth Preparation Videos, where I pick a topic related to birth and postpartum and I talk about it. Today we were talking about emotional recovery postpartum. So last week we talked about physical recovery and some of the physical things that you can expect.

And this week we are talking about emotions. This is a really, really important topic. I think a lot of people are not prepared for the intensity of emotions in their postpartum time. So today we're going to talk about some emotional recovery symptoms to expect, and when to have an idea of when your postpartum emotional symptoms may be veering into a postpartum mood disorder.

So there's normal hormonal and emotional fluctuations. And then there are those that go into a mood disorder and we'll talk about the two of them and how to know. I'm Cara Lee, I'm a birth doula and a childbirth educator, and let's get started.


all right. Let's get started talking about emotional recovery postpartum. I mentioned in the physical recovery, uh, video last week that postpartum for some people is really intense, really challenging and really difficult. And for some people postpartum, it's full of mostly joy and love and ease and not very difficult, or at least it's intense, but not difficult in the way that some people experience it.

And for some people, they experience it as intense and difficult and challenging one day or one hour and easy and full of love and full of joy the next day or hour. And it's a little bit of both. So you just never know what your experience is going to be like. It's important to be prepared for an intense experience, no matter what. Uh, but you never know. You never know what your experience is going to be. Like, everything is just like everything. It's highly individual.

So with that, let's step [00:02:00] into what emotional recovery can look like. So a reminder, again, we talked about this last week, when we talk about physical recovery, the postpartum time is a very, very dynamic time.

This is a massive hormonal shift. This is a time where your body is shifting from growing a placenta and a human and fostering that, to all those hormones shifting and those purposes shifting to lactation. And whether or not you choose to feed from your body and your, your body's hormonal levels and functions change to lactation.

There's this massive shift over the course of a few days of these hormones, and then shifting to different hormones, it is a hugely dynamic experience. And so with those dynamic experiences, physical dynamic experiences. We also get emotionally dynamic experiences.

So now let's step into talking about baby blues, which I personally dislike that term. I think that it is too cutesy and, uh, it doesn't fully encapsulate what these emotional symptoms can feel like, but I'm using it because this is [00:03:00] the term that our culture tends to use for emotional symptoms after you've given birth that are within the realm of normal. So baby blues is often used as a describe is a descriptor for the emotional struggles that you may have postpartum that's within the realm of normal. But baby blues or normal, emotional fluctuations after birth begin two to three days after you've had your baby and they can include things like anxiety, depression, trouble eating and sleeping anger. Anger is one that nobody wants to talk about. Nobody wants to think about a new parent who just gave birth being angry, but it's a very common. Postpartum rage. So anger, anxiety, depression, all of this can come about within two to three days after you've had your baby, you may feel like you are crying for no reason, or you cry easily.

You may question, whether you were capable of caring for your newborn infant, while you are undergoing this massive learning curve of how to care for this infant who has just emerged into our world, you're also undergoing this huge, emotional transition that may be helping or causing you to [00:04:00] question whether or not you can actually do this when you're questioning it, even if you were not going through the postpartum recovery.

Um, so this is, this is common within this baby blues time. Usually, with typical healthy healing, these baby blues, these normal hormonal fluctuations will resolve within a week or two after you've given birth.

If these don't resolve within a week or two have given birth, and you're still feeling anxious, depressed, completely questioning whether or not you can care for this infant. And you're still feeling like you're having trouble eating. You're having trouble sleeping. Even a couple of weeks after you've given birth. This may be veering into a postpartum mood disorder. You may be feeling fits of extreme rage. Uh, this may be veering into a postpartum mood disorder.

So a lot of people think that if they're not questioning whether they want to hurt themselves or hurt their baby, that they must not have at postpartum mood disorder.

And that's just not true. Those are extreme versions. And of course, let's be super clear. If you have any sort of desire to harm, harm yourself or harm [00:05:00] your infant. Get help. Be sure to communicate that with your partner, let your partner keep an eye out for that. Cause that's some symptom where you would want to get help. These, these can be an extreme disorder.

But generally a postpartum mood disorders can look like these baby blues that just don't go away. And there's no need to suffer. I can't say this enough, this postpartum time is a tender time. Your body is going through so much. You are going so much transformation.

There's no need to suffer. Postpartum mood disorders can be treated. Depending on their intensity and where you're at in your experience of them, they can be treated with talk therapy. Postpartum mood disorders can be treated with support groups. Postpartum mood disorders can be treated with medication. And some medication is okay with, with body feeding, with breastfeeding, you can work with your medical care providers, but sometimes it's more, your mental health is more important than, um, how you feed your infant. I really, I want to say that now your, these, these are messages that you're not always getting in our culture, but your mental health is so important. And there's no need for you to say. [00:06:00] So a tip that I give you now in this video. And I also repeat this excessively in the Brave Journey Birth Preparation Program, is to prepare and research resources postpartum. Mood and mental health resources in your community.

Now, while you're pregnant, don't wait until you're postpartum. It is hard enough to do anything postpartum, much less. If you're suffering with a mood disorder to seek out and research and learn about the different resources in your. It's too much to ask of yourself. Do it now.

Hopefully, maybe what needed, but do it now find a support group, find some postpartum mental health support groups. Then that can be a pathway for you to finding more individualized support. If that's what you need, talk to your medical care provider now. Ask them just hypothetically, "if I show up in your office postpartum, and I say that I'm having trouble emotionally, and I need some post-partum mental health support. What do you do?"

What's that look like, talk it through. So it's not unknown. So. The who they refer to, what it typically looks like, what they're looking for, then it's not an unknown. And you can ask for [00:07:00] help from your medical care provider, ask for help from your local community, but do the research now.

And again, in the Brave Journey Birth Preparation Program,, I have like checklists of who to seek out and what to look for in your community, because it's so important. And that's just a tip that I can give you now. Do the research now.

So that's it for our video this week on postpartum emotional recovery, emotional recovery, after you've given birth to your baby. And again, those first couple of weeks after birth, it's normal to experience some pretty extreme emotional fluctuations, but seek help if they stick around or seek help, if they get too strong or you're having trouble managing.

So it's, there's no need to suffer. I just can't say that enough. There's no need to suffer. So get support, contact your community, and make sure that you and your birth partner and your circle of support are prepared to help you through this massive transformation and massive recovery after you've had your baby.

That's it for this week. I'll see you next week.



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