Moms and Mood Swings

Dad beware! If you thought that your partner's PMS was difficult to deal with, then you'd better brace yourself for the wrath of PPMS (Post-Partum Mood Swings). Affecting three out of four new moms, Post Partum Mood Swings (PPMS) condition is often referred to as the Post-Partum Blues or Baby Blues. This condition affects your partner's moods and can also result in more serious conditions such as post-partum depression.

Keep in mind that much of this behavior is beyond her control. Right after the birth, her hormone levels are playing havoc with her brain chemistry. So be understanding and give your partner a shoulder to cry on when she needs one.

PPMS can last anywhere from a couple of days to a month or more. It can be really tough on a dad, especially since you're trying to adjust to the baby as well.

Employing these four policies will make things easier on both of you:

Policy #1: Ears Open, Mouth Closed
Guys tend to be fixers by nature. You see a problem, and you find the solution. Of course it's logical, but in this case it may backfire. Your partner may need comfort, not a ten-point plan of action.

Policy #2: Strike It from the Record
Remember that the hormonal changes your partner is experiencing are normal and that therefore her moods are out of her control. Don't take any negative things she might say about you (i.e. crticizing you for not tidying up just right) personally; she doesn't mean it.

Policy #3: Be an Army of One
Don't expect much from your partner these first weeks; remember, she just gave birth and is going through many emotional and physical changes. You may need to do everything short of breastfeeding, so be prepared to carry the load. Enlist the help of relatives and order plenty of take-out.

Policy #4: Take Her Out
Isolation is a big contributor to PPMS, so the sooner she gets a change of scenery, the quicker she may come around. Remember that newborns are very portable, so grab her and the baby and take a stroll around the block. The exercise will help release endorphins that can lighten her mood.

Post-Partum Depression
This condition is far more serious than PPMS and affects about 10% of new moms. If your partner's emotional state is seriously impeding her ability to function, or her symptoms last longer than a month, suggest that she consult her obstetrician. If she resists, you can bring up the fact that her condition is very treatable, and that every day she waits is one less day she'll be able to enjoy the tot.

From BE PREPARED by Gary Greenberg and Jeannie Haydn. Copyright Ó 2004 by Gary Greenberg and Jeannie Haydn. Reprinted by permission of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

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