There's no doubt about it, having a baby is a life changing experience. It's exhausting, demanding and requires all the resources a woman can muster. Add to that the physical and hormonal changes birth causes, challenges of breast feeding, and extreme sleep deprivation and it's no wonder many new mothers get bummed out. The American Pregnancy Association (APA) breaks these cases down into three categories:  baby blues, post partum depression and post partum psychosis.

1. The Blues

Baby blues are the mildest form of post partum depression and as many as 50 to 75% of new moms experience it. Symptoms occur late in the first week after birth and include crankiness, irritability, anxiety, fatigue, crying and impatience. Most women say the blues come on quickly and go away just as suddenly. After all the anticipation, anxiety and preparation for birth, the work of labor, excitement and joy of having your new baby in your arms, it's only natural there'll be a bit of a let down feeling. Many women have never been as physically challenged before or held as much responsibility as the life of a new baby.They've never gone without sleep for extended periods. It takes some adjustment. 

If this happens to you, it's time to call in reinforcement. Don't try to do it all by yourself. Get your partner, mother or trusted friend to take the baby off your hands while you get a shower, good meal and some much needed sleep. You'll be a better mother once you've taken care of yourself.

2. Postpartum Depression

Ten percent of women get a more extreme case of the blues called postpartum depression. It can happen as soon as a few days after birth or as much as a year later. Symptoms include: extreme fatigue, sadness, inability to eat or sleep, feelings of guilt or inadequacy, loss of joy in motherhood or interest in the baby, inability to take care of your baby or self or basic responsibilities. 

Many women experiencing this level of depression don't recognize they're having trouble and may not ask for help. Hopefully, their partner and family can step in to get her the assistance she needs and deserves.  The first step is to make an emergency call to her physician and an immediate appointment. Postpartum depression, when left untreated, can result in psychosis and harm to mother or baby. Treatment includes medication, counseling, support groups and pulling in family support so mom can get more rest and time for herself. 

3. Postpartum Psychosis

Postpartum psychosis is an extreme mental disorder. While only 1 in 1000 women will experience it, the results can be deadly to mother and baby. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says, "Women are more at risk if they have had manic depression (bipolar disorder) or schizophrenia or if family members have had these diseases."

Motherhood's a tough transition and many women feel inadequate if they don't make it smoothly. Knowing that other mothers are in the same boat may help women with postpartum depression know, they're not alone and help is available.