Are you a new mom or recently had a baby? Have you been feeling sad, empty, and blue when you’ve always expected to be feeling joy, excitement, and love? It is common for many women to experience the “baby blues” after delivery. Most women experience crying spells, sadness, mood swings, and anxiety. This can last anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks after giving birth. Some women, however, experience longer lasting and more significant symptoms that indicate they may have what is called Postpartum depression.
What Are the Symptoms of Postpartum Depression?
Where the symptoms of the “baby blues” are mostly mild and short lived, symptoms of Postpartum depression can be moderate to severe and longer lasting – up to several months. Symptoms of Postpartum depression include:
- Excessive crying
- Severe mood swings and intense sadness
- Trouble bonding with your baby
- Withdrawal from family and loved ones
- Feeling disconnected from your baby
- High anxiety and panic attacks
- Crippling depression
- Feeling like you don’t love your baby
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of interest or pleasure
- Lethargy and loss of energy
- Anger and irritability
- Feelings of inadequacy and shame
- Feeling worthless
- Thoughts of suicide
- Thoughts of harming your baby
What Causes Postpartum Depression?
Most researchers believe Postpartum depression is the result of highly elevated levels of estrogen and progesterone dropping after delivery. During pregnancy your estrogen and progesterone levels are the highest that that will ever be and the rapid drop in hormone levels can make it difficult for the brain and body to adjust to those pre-pregnancy levels. Additionally, your thyroid levels rapidly decrease, contributing to fatigue and low mental energy.
Postpartum Depression and Your Environment
Aside from the hormonal component that you experience after delivery, other factors contribute as well. Do you have a history of clinical depression or anxiety? Is there instability in your home environment? Is there limited support available to you? The answers to these questions highlight the importance of the environmental factors in your life. These are areas to consider if you suspect you may be suffering from Postpartum depression.
What is Postpartum Psychosis?
Postpartum psychosis is a very serious but rare condition that happens in only .1% of births. The onset of Postpartum psychosis can show up around two weeks after delivery. Symptoms moms may experience include:
- Auditory or visual hallucinations
- Rapid and severe mood swings
- Delusions (strange and bizarre beliefs)
- Decreased need for sleep
How to Treat Postpartum Depression
If you think that you are experiencing more than just the “baby blues,” call your OB/GYN or your midwife and tell them your symptoms. Together, you may decide that it’s best for you to seek treatment with a seasoned psychotherapist who specializes in counseling for Postpartum depression. Sometimes a combination of counseling for Postpartum depression and medicine are optimal in treating your symptoms. It is important to seek help immediately if you’re experiencing any of the symptoms of Postpartum depression listed above.
If you suffering from Postpartum depression please contact us today to connect with a specialist.