Most parents grapple with the adjustment to parenthood in some way or another. For some moms (and dads), the period before or after postpartum can be colored by an experience of depression. Postpartum Depression is the most common of the mental health disorders for moms and research has shown it affects 1 in 8 new mothers.
Some signs that you may be experiencing Postpartum Depression include:
- Difficulty sleeping, even when the baby is sleeping, or wanting to sleep all the time
- Appetite changes
- Irritability, anger, nervousness and other signs of sleep deprivation, even if you are not sleep deprived
- Feeling exhausted or listless
- Lack of ability to enjoy life as much as in the past
- Lack of interest in the baby, feeling a lack of bonding
- Lack of interest in friends and family; turning down opportunities to socialize; self-isolation
- Lack of interest in intimacy, sex, or even being touched (more than you think is normal for a new mother)
- Feeling hopeless, worthless, guilty; feeling like a bad mother/father
- Difficulty focusing and concentrating; feeling mentally foggy
- Thoughts of harming yourself or the baby; feeling like the baby doesn’t like you, or would be better off with a different parent
What are the “Baby Blues”?
“Baby Blues” are not the same as Postpartum Depression as it will only last for a few weeks. The days before your baby can seem carefree and simple, and your life with your new baby can be overwhelmingly complicated. The 2-3 weeks immediately after giving birth are full of transitions with learning to care for your new baby and yourself and this is when some moms experience what we call the “Baby Blues”.
Following birth your body is also experiencing significant biological changes in hormone levels. While your body tries to release all of the fluids and your hormones work to regulate, it is common for moms to “leak” more through crying and sweating. Many moms report being more tearful following birth and this is common and expected unless it continues more than 2-3 weeks postpartum.
Manifestations of the “Baby Blues” that are also manifestations of postpartum are:
- Loss of time to eat
- Lump in your throat
- Tightness in your chest, palpitations
- Feelings of weakness
- Inability to sleep
- Inability to concentrate
- Loss of time perception
- Forgetting what you’re saying in the middle of a sentence
- Overwhelming sense of sadness
- Longing for life to return to normal
- Oversensitivity to noise and light
- Sense of social isolation and loneliness
- Crying and unanticipated times
- Inability to complete tasks
- Experiencing resentment that life goes on for other people
Postpartum Depression may be occurring when these feelings and symptoms of birth are still present following this typical adjustment period. For most mothers these symptoms and experiences will resolve as you adjust psychologically and physically to motherhood.
If you find yourself relating to some of these symptoms during pregnancy or following birth for longer than 2-3 weeks at a time, we suggest you seek out counseling and support right away. What you are experiencing is something that we can help you with and it is important to know you are not alone.
For more information on our counseling services and scheduling, please contact us to schedule today.
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