This article is part of the Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy.
Having a baby can bring a whirlwind of emotions from excitement and joy to fear and anxiety. In this frenzy of feelings, some new mothers experience what they may not have expected: depression.
During the postpartum period, nearly 85% of mothers experience mood disturbances including feelings of worry, unhappiness, and fatigue. These feelings are commonly referred to as baby blues. Symptoms may include irritability, crying spells, anxiety, and trouble sleeping.
Babies require a lot of care, so it's common to feel overwhelmed and exhausted. Baby blues are generally mild and can last a week or two. As you adjust to motherhood, the feelings of being overwhelmed and anxious often fall to the wayside.
However, if you just can't shake those feelings and experience more severe sadness and anxiety, you might be experiencing some types of postpartum depression.
This isn't a sign of weakness as a mother, or a character flaw, but it's simply another potential complication of giving birth. If you're feeling like you may be suffering from postpartum depression, you are not alone. Nearly 15% of mothers experience postpartum depression.
Signs and symptoms of postpartum depression
Some of the most common symptoms of postpartum depression include:
- Loss of appetite
- Intense irritability or anger
- Feeling sad, hopeless, and overwhelmed
- Severe fatigue
- Lack of joy and interest in activities
- Difficulty bonding with your baby
- Persistent doubt in your ability to care for your baby
- Feelings of guilt and inadequacy
- Withdrawal and seclusion from family and friends
You might feel that you can't provide the right care for your baby as a result of these symptoms, but you should remember these feelings are related to your postpartum depression.
How to know if you're suffering from postpartum depression
Avoid self-diagnosing. Instead, meet with your healthcare provider for an official diagnosing and treatment plan to help you feel like normal again. They will be able to provide you with options for improving based on the severity and type of associated symptoms. Treatment doesn't always mean medication. And often times, you won't need to take medication at all.
Receiving helpful advice can help you refocus your thoughts to bring you out of your baby blues and improve your postpartum depression symptoms.
Look to family and friends for help
The people you're closest to may be the first to recognize that you're suffering from postpartum depression. They may encourage you to talk with a healthcare provider and offer some additional support, such as helping with daily tasks around the home and providing a helping hand with your newborn.
Whether you're experiencing the baby blues or battling postpartum depression, remember these simple reminders as you take on motherhood.
- Set realistic expectations
- Focus on the positive
- Use your support system
- Take time for yourself
If you feel like you need to talk with someone about your feelings or symptoms, make an appointment with one of the metal health providers at LMPN Behavioral Health Services by calling (574) 753-5611.