It’s normal to go through an adjustment period after childbirth – new mothers experience many different emotions.
Women anticipate feelings of happiness with the birth of their babies. But many new mothers are surprised by other common feelings such as sadness, anger, fear or anxiety.
Up to 75 per cent of new mothers experience the “baby blues.” The baby blues are part of the adjustment to childbirth and usually begin a few days after birth and often go away on their own by two weeks.
During the baby blues women may feel weepy, overwhelmed, irritable, anxious, fatigued and have trouble sleeping.
If these feelings don’t go away or get worse you may be experiencing postpartum depression or anxiety.
How do I know if I have postpartum depression?
If you have been experiencing any of the following for two weeks or more, or if these things make it difficult for you to care for yourself or your baby, it is important to talk to a health care provider. Only a qualified healthcare provider can make a diagnosis.
- strong feelings of sadness or emptiness
- feeling hopeless or worthless
- can’t stop crying
- constant fatigue, even after resting
- trouble falling asleep or want to sleep all the time
- difficulty concentrating or making decisions
- loss of interest in activities and relationships you usually enjoy
- little or no interest or pleasure in your baby
- changes in your appetite or weight
- irritable or angry much of the time
- feeling resentful towards your baby
- feel very anxious, trapped, overwhelmed or out of control
- constant worry about your baby’s health or safety
- racing or repetitive thoughts that cause you anxiety
- afraid to be alone with your baby
Postpartum depression is treatable
Counselling, support and medication are helpful in treating postpartum depression and anxiety. A health care provider can help you find the right supports and services for your situation. You can also learn daily strategies to cope with the feelings and symptoms you are experiencing.
Family and friends that are supporting a new mother might see these signs or feel that something isn’t quite right. Talk to the new mother about how she’s feeling. Increase the support she is getting: give her a break from the baby, help out with chores and give her reassurance that she will feel better. Encourage her to talk to a health care provider as soon as possible.
“I feel like the worst mother in the world”
You are not alone. Many women suffer in silence because they fear being seen as a bad mother or worry that their baby will be taken away. It is important to remember that postpartum depression can affect any new mother. It is not your fault. The sooner you get help, the sooner you’ll be feeling better.
For more information, visit:
Where to get help
- Talk to your Public Health Nurse (call 204-926-7000 to find your Public Health Nurse)
- Talk to your doctor, midwife or other healthcare provider (If you do not have a doctor call the Family Doctor Connection Program at
- For information about resources and supports call the Women’s Health Clinic Mothers Program at 204-947-2422 ext. 113 or visit womenshealthclinic.org
If you are having thoughts of harming yourself or your baby, or are in crisis:
- Go to the WRHA Crisis Response Centre at 817 Bannatyne Avenue or call WRHA Mobile Crisis Service at 204-940-1781(24 hours/7 days a week)
- Call the Klinic Community Health Centre Crisis Line (24 hours/7 days a week) at 204-786-8686
- Call the Manitoba Suicide Line (24 hours/7 days a week) at 1-877-435-7170
If you need help finding resources call Health Links-Info Santé at 204-788-8200 or visit the Postpartum Depression Association of Manitoba website at www.ppdmanitoba.ca