Many women experience some feelings of inadequacy and sadness after the birth of a baby. These feelings tend to last about 3-4 days, and often go away as quickly as they come. However, in about 30% of new mothers, these symptoms get worse, and are indicative of Postpartum Depressio n (PPD). They can last 2 weeks or more. Symptoms include:
- Difficulty sleeping.
- Loss of appetite.
- Little interest in things you used to find pleasurable.
- Nervousness and excessive worry.
- Thinking your baby would be better off without you.
- Crying over the slightest issues.
- Separating yourself from family and friends.
- Difficulty concentrating.
- Unexplained anger.
- Thoughts of hurting yourself.
- You stop caring for your baby.
- Thoughts of hurting your baby.
Postpartum Depression is a real and very treatable disease. If you are experiencing symptoms of PPD, Virginia Hospital Center wants to help. Get in touch with your Obstetrician immediately so they can refer you to a mental health professional. They will provide reassurance, guidance and, if necessary, a referral for professional counseling.
CLICK HERE to read more about:
- How common are anxiety and depression after giving birth?
- How is this different from the "baby blues?"
- What causes perinatal mood and anxiety disorders?
- How are they treated?
One Mom’s Story
“This is not traditional depression. What these moms feel is isolation, anxiety and loss of confidence.”
—Mary Crowther, MBBS, OB/GYN
Mandy had wanted to have a baby for so long and, yet, she felt unhappy throughout her first pregnancy. After her first child was born, “everything really went downhill,” she recalls. “Breastfeeding was a struggle. I was not able to sleep at all and I felt completely overwhelmed. I wasn’t enjoying my baby.”
Two weeks after delivery, Mandy went to see her OB/GYN who recommended she get help at home to get more rest and also see a therapist. Once her son started sleeping longer, things were a little better, but Mandy still felt anxious and depressed.
“I was scared to give my baby a bath by myself for fear that I would drop him,” she says. “The anxiety was paralyzing.”
Mandy started attending the Postpartum Support Group. It helped her to hear other women’s stories and to see “it wasn’t just me,” she says.
After one particularly difficult weekend, her therapist said it was time to consider taking a low dose anti-depressant, a treatment Mandy had resisted initially. This time she agreed.
“Within weeks, my crying was much less intense and I didn’t feel as sad. My anxiety was still there, but more manageable,” she says. It took about nine months after her baby was born for Mandy to feel completely like herself again.
The decision to have another baby was one that she and her husband considered carefully. Her experience with her second son has been “100% different. My anxiety is much lower and every moment with him has been a joy,” Mandy says.
She still attends the Postpartum Support Group, but for different reasons. “This time, I realize when I have a bad day it won’t last forever. I want to share my experiences and what I learned to help other new moms,” Mandy says.