While almost every woman may experience mood swings and the so-called “baby blues” after having a new baby, one in 9 women suffer from a more serious problem. Postpartum depression can be caused by the combined stress of labor, the intense change of hormones, and caring for a new infant. With all of these stressors, the addition of depression can seem like the end of the world, but there are many ways to help. This article is filled with tips and tricks to help spot postpartum depression before it gets worse and how to help stop these sad feelings to get you back to your life. If you want more information after reading, you can find out more at Mommy Authority.
Causes of Postpartum Depression
While scientists have not figured out a tell tale sign to know what causes this depression or who will experience depression postpartum, there are some markers to note that could indicate a higher risk. As pregnancy naturally causes a large change in your hormones, giving birth has the same effect. Some researchers think that this large influx of new hormones creates an imbalance that can send women into a dark place. This hormone surge, paired with the lack of sleep due to the care an infant needs, as well as doubts of self image or ability to be a good mother all have been shown to affect your chances of being diagnosed with depression. Lastly, if you have a previous history of depression or other mental health issues, this could also increase your overall risk.
There is a common known symptom called the baby blues that happens to almost all women after giving birth. Unfortunately, many of these symptoms are shared with those of postpartum depression. So how can you tell the difference? Baby blues will last for a maximum of two weeks. If you notice any symptoms that are lasting longer, it could be a sign that you are dealing with a case of depression. Many of the symptoms include, but are not limited to:
- Sad or hopeless feelings
- Uncontrollable bouts of crying
- Thoughts of hurting either yourself or the baby
- Feelings of disconnection from the baby, like the baby is not yours
- Zero motivation or energy
- Not eating enough
- Eating too much
- Not sleeping enough
- Sleeping too much
- Memory and focus problems
- Feelings like a bad mother
- Withdrawing from family and friends
- No pleasure from previously enjoyable activities
- Headaches, stomach pains that refuse to go away
While not all of these symptoms may be present, it is important to not be embarrassed if you are experiencing these problems. Remember that many new mothers go through this, and suffering from postpartum depression does not make you a bad mother. If you do realize these symptoms have grabbed ahold of your life for more than 2 weeks, you should speak with a trusted professional about your next steps.
The most important thing to remember when reaching out for help is that you are not alone. Just like any other illness, depression has many treatments to help you get your life back. Start by visiting your doctor to start the process. They may be able to help determine if the symptoms are something you can try to tackle yourself or if more intervention will be needed.
It is easy to feel disconnected from the world when suffering from depression. Remember that you are not alone. Try speaking to your friends and family. Not only can talking help relieve some of the stress, they may be able to help you by taking care of the new baby for a little while. This will allow you to take some much needed time for yourself. Use this time to exercise, catch up on sleep, or do something that you enjoy. These small times can help you reclaim your life and start feeling better.
Help From Your Doctor
If your doctor sees you need more intervention, there are a few things that they could suggest. You could be referred to a specialized therapist that is trained to help women going through the same problems as you. While therapy can have a stigma around it, don’t allow others’ thoughts affect how you choose to help yourself. In more extreme cases, a doctor may prescribe antidepressants.
Overall, it is important to remember that, as a new mother, you are not alone. More than 10% of new mothers experience depression. Once you think you are noticing symptoms, remember that there are many ways to help treat this disease to get you back to enjoying your new life and your new baby.