Postpartum depression is a mood disorder that affects approximately 1 in 7 women. Education and the ability to recognize the signs and symptoms can allow you to get the help needed to manage PPD.
Following the birth of a new baby, mother’s may experience an intense sadness known as the baby blues. Thought to be the result of changing hormones, the baby blues usually do not last long- about 2-3 weeks. If you have a deep sadness or mood swings lasting longer than three weeks, contact your midwives for an evaluation.
Women who have had depression before pregnancy or experienced PPD previously are at greater risk of developing postpartum depression.
Other risk factors for developing postpartum depression are:
- Financial instability
- Little or no support from friends and family
- Stress in relationships, work, and daily life
Signs and Symptoms
Postpartum depression can present differently from person to person. Symptoms may include:
- Hard time bonding with baby
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Isolating yourself
- Difficulty sleeping
- Suffering from shame and guilt
- Apathy, like you’re just going through the motions
- Anger and mood swings
- Crying often
- Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
Postpartum depression can affect many aspects of your life including daily tasks, sex life, breastfeeding, memory and decision making skills. It can disrupt your daily life and cause further strain on you and your partner.
When you're living with depression, reaching out for support may feel like the last thing you want to do, but it is imperative that you do. Get in touch with your midwives right away to discuss treatment options, which could include:
- Seeing a therapist who specializes in postpartum mood disorders
- Speaking with your friends and family
Exercise may also be a part of your treatment plan as it can increase endorphins and improve self-esteem. Try doing exercises that you enjoy, like dancing or taking a walk, as you’re more likely to have fun and continue to do them.
One of the hardest parts of dealing with depression is battling with your inner thoughts. In a perfect world, women would get the help they needed as soon as they felt something was off. But humans are complex and emotions like shame or guilt may be holding you back from reaching out. Know that these thoughts and feelings are not your fault and in no way make you a bad mother. You deserve peace and you don’t have to suffer in silence.
For more information on postpartum depression or to get an evaluation, contact us today.