The birth of a baby can be a joyous and memorable time filled with celebrations for the entire family. That being said, a new baby can also bring a flood of more negative emotions for the new mom. Between the stressors of taking care of a new life and doing so with little sleep and energy, it can cause a lot of anxiety and even depression. For some, the depression is minor and only lasts a few weeks. This is often referred to as the “baby blues.” The alternative is a much more serious condition called postpartum depression, which affects 1 in 7 new moms.
Although postpartum depression can be misdiagnosed as the baby blues in the beginning, it is different in that it not only lasts longer but is also much more intense. Unlike the very common baby blues, which happen shortly after the birth and go away after the first month or so, postpartum depression does not go away without treatment and can even develop months after the birth.
Postpartum depression symptoms include:
- Depressed mood or severe mood swings
- Excessive crying
- Difficulty bonding with your baby
- Withdrawing from family and friends
- Loss of appetite or eating much more than usual
- Inability to sleep (insomnia) or sleeping too much
- Overwhelming fatigue or loss of energy
- Reduced interest and pleasure in activities you used to enjoy
- Intense irritability and anger
- Fear that you’re not a good mother
- Feelings of worthlessness, shame, guilt or inadequacy
- Diminished ability to think clearly, concentrate or make decisions
- Severe anxiety and panic attacks
- Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
- Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide
Although a serious concern, the behaviors and feelings associated with postpartum depression do not make you a bad person or a bad mother. Difficulty bonding with your child may make you feel like a villain, but with help, you can heal from postpartum depression. By seeking help the moment you fear you might be suffering from postpartum depression or have personal or family history of depression, you can begin preventing and/or treating your symptoms.
It may feel shameful or even embarrassing to seek help, but postpartum depression is not uncommon and is completely treatable. If you think you or a loved one are suffering from postpartum depression, do not hesitate further and schedule an appointment with a professional at Advantage Mental Health Center today!