Postpartum depression symptoms can hinder you from being the best mom you always wanted to be. After giving birth, you feel a sudden change within you that you can’t completely understand, leaving you confused on top of feeling restless and tired. Some of the symptoms of postpartum depression (PPD) will seem typical at first; all the more you need to know if what you’re going through is still normal or not. Learn more about the causes, signs, possible treatment, and everything else you need to know about PPD here. Remember, you don’t have to deal with this alone.
How to Deal with Postpartum Depression
In this article:
- What Is the Difference Between Postpartum Depression and Baby Blues?
- What Are Postpartum Depression Symptoms?
- How Common Is Postpartum Depression?
- What Are the Causes of Postpartum Depression?
- How Is Postpartum Depression Diagnosed?
- How Do You Treat Postpartum Depression?
- What Do They Give You for Postpartum Depression?
- How Long Can Postpartum Depression Last?
What Is the Difference Between Postpartum Depression and Baby Blues?
After a week or two of giving birth, baby blues may occur. The signs are having anxiety, mood swings, lack of focus and concentration, reduced appetite, and sleeping problems. New mothers may also feel irritable, overwhelmed, sad, and can’t stop crying.
Baby blues and postpartum depression symptoms are quite similar. Often, new mothers will mistake the symptoms of baby blues with that of postnatal depression, which is why it helps to distinguish one from the other.
Postpartum depression symptoms last longer and are more intense. The paranoia is getting out of control. There is a strong, insecure feeling. Withdrawal from loved ones and peers happens. Guilt grows as you feel like you’re not good enough to care for your child. There is a big possibility that these emotions can interfere with how a mother takes care of her baby.
What Are Postpartum Depression Symptoms?
The postpartum depression symptoms can start in the first week after giving birth and can last up to a year. Here’s a list of signs and symptoms of PPD:
- Feeling depressed
- Very bad mood swings
- Crying often
- Cannot bond with the baby
- Withdrawal from family and friends
- No appetite or eating more than usual
- Cannot sleep properly or oversleeping
- Lack of energy due to extreme fatigue
- Loss of interest in activities enjoyed before
- Intense anger
- Fear and anxiety about not being a good mother
- Feeling hopeless, worthless, shameful, guilty
- Lack of focus, concentration
- Cannot decide properly
- Can have intense panic and anxiety attacks
- May have thoughts of self-harm or harming the baby
How Common Is Postpartum Depression?
According to the American Psychological Association, 1 out of 7 mothers experiences postpartum depression. Some even start showing postpartum depression symptoms during the pregnancy stage. If you feel like there is something unusual with your mental and emotional state, it’s best to talk to your doctor right away.
What Are the Causes of Postpartum Depression?
Mothers undergo drastic changes in their body and daily routine, which affects their mental and emotional state. Here are some common causes of postpartum depression:
- Physical changes – In most cases, moms experience an increase in weight. Her skin is a little loose, and her body is sore all over. She develops dark eye circles due to the lack of sleep. Upon looking at the mirror, she loses self-confidence. She worries if she will ever get back to the way her body used to be.
- Sleep Deprivation – Just when she’s about to sleep, the baby starts to cry. She has to get up to check what the baby needs, even if she’s exhausted. If the baby needs milk, she has to stay up and feed the baby at an ungodly hour. She doesn’t get enough rest, which leads to a cranky and depressing mood.
- Hormonal changes – After giving birth, the thyroid level and hormones can drastically drop. This reduces the body’s immunity, making her susceptible to stress and fatigue.
How Is Postpartum Depression Diagnosed?
You can try a quick assessment called the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale. Answer the questions accurately and honestly. If your score exceeds 15 points, it’s likely that you are experiencing postnatal depression. Schedule a check-up with your doctor to get a diagnosis.
How Do You Treat Postpartum Depression?
There are several programs and routines that help postpartum depression management. Here are some effective tips on postpartum depression:
- Bond with the baby – The more time you spend with the baby, the faster you’ll understand his/her needs. Developing a secure bond between mother and baby is referred to as attachment. Creating deep attachment is essential for both the baby and mother to have a healthy relationship. The baby will feel more secure and safe, hence having fewer tantrums. The mother will develop a deep love for her baby and find solace in knowing her baby needs her.
- Talk to your loved ones – When postpartum depression strikes, you have the tendency to isolate yourself. You think that people might judge you for being emotionally weak and unfit to be a parent. That mindset must be altered. On the contrary, you should speak up. Have a list of your go-to people to talk to. Having one-on-one conversations with trusted and experienced mothers can enlighten you. They will give personal insights and pieces of advice to deal with the situation.
- Deal with it together – For better or worse, you and your partner should stick together. Avoid focusing on the frustrations and leaving out all the tender moments. Communication will play a vital role here. Both of you should express your thoughts and learn to find a common ground. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
- Love yourself – It’s a natural tendency of mothers to give their unparalleled attention to raising the family, but you should never neglect your own well-being. Once you’re well adjusted to the new lifestyle, schedule some pamper time. Postpartum exercises and proper postnatal nutrition for new moms are essential in staying healthy.
What Do They Give You for Postpartum Depression?
In extreme cases, your doctor might suggest postpartum depression medications and therapies:
- Postpartum Depression Medications – There are several medications for postpartum depression out in the market. These medicines balance the brain chemicals that control the emotions and moods of a woman. Hence, it encourages its user to stay positive, eat healthily, and get quality sleep.
- Postpartum Depression Therapies – If you’re the more conservative when it comes to taking medications, therapy is a good option. Cognitive-behavioral and interpersonal therapies are the popular choices. Cognitive-behavioral therapy encourages relaxation and recreational activities. This helps you combat the negative thoughts by being pre-occupied. Interpersonal therapy gives advice and inspires a smooth transition to motherhood.
How Long Can Postpartum Depression Last?
In a study presented by Medical News Today, postpartum depression can last from 6 months to 3 years. This health condition must not be taken lightly. The earlier it is addressed, the sooner the problem can be treated.
Full Frontal Fatherhood shares how your partner can help you deal with postpartum depression in this video:
Postpartum depression is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, it should be something you’re willing to discuss with the people you trust and the people who love you. It’s a serious health condition that must not be swept under the rug. There are several treatments for postpartum depression and postpartum care for new moms. If you’re experiencing any of the signs of postpartum depression, call your doctor with not a moment to lose.
Do you have other questions about postpartum depression? Let us know in the comments section below!