The Truth About Postpartum Depression
Ten little fingers and ten little toes. You couldn’t have imagined something so perfect. Everyone around you is so excited about your new baby and so are you! But something’s not right. You’re starting to feel off. You know you should feel happy, but you’ve been finding yourself feeling really down, could it be postpartum depression?
What is Postpartum Depression?
Having a child comes with major changes, both physically and mentally. Not only is your body adapting to the changes, your mind is also dealing with how to adjust to this new role as a parent, deal with sleep deprivation, and manage everything else that follows parenting. While it is an incredibly exciting time for many new parents, having a child can also come with unexpected stress, anxiety, and even depression.
Postpartum depression is very common, affecting over three million mothers each year. Postpartum depression usually begins within a few weeks of giving birth, and can last a year or longer. Despite many beliefs, postpartum depression does not discriminate. While there are risk factors and protective factors, postpartum depression can affect anyone.
What are the Signs of Postpartum Depression?
People experiencing postpartum depression usually experience the following:
Difficulty attaching to the baby
Increased isolation from loved ones
Changes in sleep, appetite
Loss of interest in activities
Fear, hopelessness, feelings of unworthiness
Thoughts of hurting or killing oneself and/or their baby
What is the Difference Between Postpartum Depression and the Baby Blues?
Many people are familiar with the term ‘the baby blues’. Baby blues are feelings of mild sadness, anxiety, mood swings, and feelings of being overwhelmed that accompany many new mothers, typically starting within a few days of childbirth. Unlike postpartum depression, the baby blues usually subside within one to two weeks and are far more mild than postpartum depression.
Can You Treat Postpartum Depression?
The answer is yes, postpartum depression can be managed and treated. Postpartum depression is often treated through therapy, which allows mothers a space to talk openly about their feelings and determine ways to cope with changes and feel better. Antidepressants can also be a useful tool to be used in conjunction with therapy for women experiencing postpartum depression. Lastly, maintaining strong social connections with loved ones and prioritizing rest and self-care can be deeply helpful for any new mother experiencing postpartum depression.
Postpartum depression is real, and it is a serious mental health condition. If left untreated, postpartum depression could ultimately lead to the loss of life for a new mother or her child. If you or someone you know may be experiencing postpartum depression, please reach out and get connected to someone to help support you through this time.
Watch the video below to see Chrissy Teigen and another mother opening up about their experiences with postpartum depression.