The baby blues are no joking matter, and women worldwide know this if they have experienced the effects of postpartum depression (PPD) after giving birth. Hormonal and chemical changes, combined with a ton of physical changes, can leave mom feeling moody and overwhelmed, which is normal after childbirth but may be discouraging and cause a feeling that something is wrong. It is important to note that any uncomfortable and deflated feelings experienced within six to eight weeks after birth, or longer, do not reflect how much a mother does or does not love her child. Education on the topic and treatment options can ease the mind and help to refresh the joy of bringing a child into the world.
Common Causes, Signs and Symptoms
PPD is a mere complication at birth, not a weakness, not something of which to be ashamed, and certainly not the be all end all. Hormone levels before and directly after childbirth are a major contributor to this state of ongoing sadness in that they alter the chemicals in the brain that control moods. Cortisol levels (also known as the happy hormone) increase in the last trimester of pregnancy and decrease immediately after birth, sometimes plaguing mom with what feels like uncontrollable depression. Signs and symptoms of PPD can be exhibited through emotions, behaviors and physical appearance or visible displays of difficulty. If you are worried that you may be experiencing some of these changes, the first thing to do is tell someone. Between 15-80% of new moms experience postpartum depression – trust that you are not alone.
Listed below are several common symptoms that signify a potential PPD diagnosis:
- Unpredictable tearfulness and crying spells
- A feeling of hopelessness or worthlessness
- Restlessness and agitation
- Strong sense of inadequacy, guilt, failure
- Neglecting yourself, your environment, or your infant
- Major sleep disturbance or difficulties (too much or too little)
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feelings which may not have been an issue with your other child that are now overwhelming
Talk with your doctor and seek medical help from an expert at a center such as Advantage Mental Health Center (AMHC) if you believe you or your loved one has PPD.
Treatment for Postpartum Depression
An important fact to remember is that PPD becomes treatable as soon as you reach out for help. With this temporary yet painstaking condition, communication with a medical expert at a mental health center or clinic is key to a smooth and successful recovery. AMHC has a board certified ARNP on staff who specializes in postpartum depression with twelve years of experience in infant care. Through counseling services, one-on-one or group therapy sessions and dependable, personalized support, you can start today on your journey back to your infant and yourself. Contact us, we’re here for you.