This is not an illness. It is a period of three to seven days usually, occurring within the first week after the birth of a baby. It happens in at least two thirds of women, and is thought to be due to the rapid drop in oestrogen levels, which occurs in women after childbirth.
Typically, the woman becomes sad, tearful, anxious and irritable, and may even state that she no longer wants her baby. However, this is unfortunately a normal phase occurring after childbirth, and hopefully the woman will have been warned in advance that this is almost certainly going to occur. The partner, family and friends have an important part to play in this situation, assuring the woman of their ongoing care and support, and continuously reminding her that this is a short-lived chemical reaction, not her true self.
Occasionally, taking a tranquilliser (not an antidepressant!) such as Valium, may lessen the emotional pain of this phase, although ideally the woman will be breast feeding her baby, and we would all prefer that neither the mother nor the baby be given medication at this time, if at all possible. I emphasise that the condition is a normal reaction, occurring in the vast majority of women after childbirth, which will heal itself spontaneously.
Important Disclaimer: This site is medical information only, and is not to be taken as diagnosis, advice or treatment, which can only be decided by your own doctor.