The birth of a new baby is a joyous and happy occasion, but it can also be very overwhelming. When you consider all the changes you body is going through, particularly when it comes to your hormones, as well as the inevitable lack of sleep, the stress of adjusting to your new schedule and new baby, and the pressure that women often put on themselves to be the best at everything it isn’t any wonder that many women suffer from some form of the “baby blues” or postpartum depression.
Luckily for many women the “baby blues” come and go quickly during the first weeks after the baby arrives. However, for some women these feelings do not go away or may become worse. The symptoms, like with any form of depression, can range from mild to severe. The following is a list of the common signs of postpartum depression.
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Feelings of helplessness
- Suffering from deep sadness or crying a lot
- Being restless and irritable
- Lack of energy and feeling sluggish or exhausted
- Feelings of nervousness or being jumpy
- Feelings of worthlessness and guilt
- Lack of appetite and associated weight loss
- Having no interest in your new baby
- Being overly worried about your baby
- Withdrawing from friends and family
- No interest or pleasure in any activities, particularly those you used to really enjoy
- Either being unable to sleep or sleeping all the time
- Unable to cope with your daily tasks
- Thoughts of death, suicide, or harming your baby
If you have any of the above symptoms you should call your doctor immediately so you can get treatment. There are many treatment options for postpartum depression ranging from counseling to medication. The best treatment options for you will depend on how severe your symptoms are. Your doctor will be able to make recommendations for you and refer you to a therapist or support group.
No one knows for sure what causes postpartum depression, but hormones are suspected to be the likely cause. Now that postpartum depression is more out in the open, hopefully more research will be done and more can be discovered about the causes. Studies have found that women with a personal or family history of depression are at an increased risk of suffering from postpartum depression. You are also more likely to suffer from postpartum depression if you suffered from it after a pregnancy.
Remember that you are not alone, many women suffer from postpartum depression. The best thing for you and your family is to get help, talk through it, and take care of yourself. Here is a very helpful website, Postpartum Support International.