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The birth of a baby is a life changing event that can trigger many powerful emotions for the new mother, such as excitement, joy, fear, anxiety, and sometimes feelings of depression. Mothers who experience negative emotions following the birth of their child often feel guilty because they expect to feel only positive emotions, such as happiness and joy after welcoming their new baby.
A woman’s body goes through many changes after giving birth such as a drop in hormones that may cause moodiness. While dealing with changes to their body the new Mom also has to adjust to life with a newborn. This process can be overwhelming especially because most new parents tend to deal with a lack of sleep.
As a Mother that has gone through Postpartum Depression I feel it is my duty to provide other women and families with information in hopes of breaking the stigma that surrounds mental health. I hope this information can be of help to someone who is struggling. Be sure to subscribe to my blog at the end of this post to receive notifications about new articles by me including, my own struggle with Postpartum Depression and how I overcame it. I will be posting that article in the near future.
According to the National Institute of Health up to 80% of postpartum Mothers experience, what is referred to as ‘Baby Blues’. Symptoms of the Baby Blues usually begin to occur a few days after giving birth and typically lasts anywhere up to 14 days. These symptoms typically go away on their own and don’t require treatment.
Symptoms of Baby Blues
- Feeling of sadness and anxiety
- Sleeping a lot
- Eating too little or too much
- Unexplained aches, pains, or illness
- Anxiety, irritation or anger for no reason
- Sudden mood changes
- Poor concentration
- Difficulty in remembering things
- Feelings of worthlessness, guilt, and hopelessness
- Lack of pleasure in things that were earlier enjoyable
- A preference for solitude
- Feeling disconnected with the baby.
Post Partum Depression
The Baby Blues and Postpartum have many symptoms that are similar but symptoms of Post Partum are more severe and last longer. If symptoms of the baby blues persist or increase in severity it could be an indication of Postpartum Depression.
According to the National Institutes of Health, an estimated 15% of women experience postpartum depression. Postpartum Depression is a serious disorder and unlike the Baby Blues, the symptoms of Postpartum Depression do not go away on their own and require medical intervention.
Symptoms of Postpartum Depression
- Feelings of sadness, hopelessness, worthlessness and guilt.
- Sleeping to little or too much
- lose of appetite or overeating
- Unexplained aches, pains, or illnesses
- Feeling irritable, anxious, or angry
- Changes in mood that occur suddenly and without warning
- Feeling out of control
- Difficulty concentrating and remembering things
- Trouble making simple decisions
- Little to no interest in things you used to enjoy
- You feel disconnected from your baby and have an inability to bond with him or her
- Withdrawal from friends and family
- Recurrent thoughts of death and suicide
- Intrusive thoughts about harming yourself or your baby
Treatment & Prevention
If you are experiencing symptoms of Postpartum Depression it is important that you contact your Doctor to discuss treatment options. Typical treatment includes medication or therapy, or a combination of both. It is important to note that without treatment, symptoms may continue to worsen.
If you have a history of depression be sure to speak with your Doctor if you are or are planning on becoming pregnant. Your Doctor can discuss treatment options that are available to you during pregnancy or right after pregnancy in order to lessen your risk or prevent the onset of Postpartum Depression.
Any new Mom is at risk of developing Postpartum Depression but the risk increases if:
- You have a history of depression – either during or before pregnancy
- You experience a lack of social support
- You are in a difficult or unfulfilling marriage – Many mothers who are diagnosed with postpartum depression often report having marital problems
- You’ve experienced recent stressful life events such as pregnancy complications the loss of a loved or loss of a job.
- You have a history of anxiety
- You experience stress regarding childcare
- Your infant has a difficult temperment
- Your pregnancy was unplanned/unwanted
- You have been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder
- Your baby has health problems or other special needs
- You have twins, triplets, or other multiple births
- You have difficulty breast-feeding
- You’ve developed Postpartum Depression after a previous pregnancy
Check out the links below for more information and to hear about other women’s struggles with PPD.
- Infant Risk Center
- Postpartum Support International
- Mental Health America
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
- This Isn’t What I Expected: Overcoming Postpartum Depression by Da Capo Lifelong Books
- Transformed by Postpartum Depression: Women’s Stories of Trauma and Growth by Praeclarus Press
- PostPartum Depression Journal: Beautiful Journal for PPD with Energy and Mood Trackers, Quotes, Mindfulness Exercises, Mood Logs, Gratitude Prompts and more. by Independently published
- The Mother-to-Mother Postpartum Depression Support Book: Real Stories from Women Who Lived Through It and Recovered by Berkley
- Out Came the Sun: My hopeful journey beyond Postpartum Depression by Vanessa Benson
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Disclaimer: The information, in this article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen.