Having a baby is a major life event. It changes everything simultaneously.
You might feel you cannot cope all the changes that you are facing.
These are all normal emotions/ experiences which makes it hard to separate the postpartum depression symptoms from temporary hormonal effects.
The temporary hormonal effects are from more or less benign feelings of depression and anxiety.
These kind of emotions can appear occasionally or might not major effects on your psyche. Your body, your lifestyle and your relationships with other people.
There is a completely new, helpless and fragile person in your life. No wonder you are overwhelmed.
What are the Postpartum Depression Symptoms?
Almost 80% of the women experience baby blues after the childbirth. Baby blues is a normal phase in postpartum period, that does not need any particular treatment.
You might feel sad, irritable, have trouble sleeping or cry excessively.
These symptoms fade away in a couple of days, or two weeks at most. As you feel more in charge of your body, your new parenting role and new life in general.
But in some women, baby blues is not just a phase – it continues after the two week period, and the symptoms become more and more intense.
Some of the symptoms that signal postpartum depression include:
- Insomnia (or in some cases, excessive sleeping)
- Problems with concentration
- Loss of appetite
- Sadness, tearfulness
- Feelings of emptiness, numbness
- Mood swings
- Shame, guilt or inadequacy
- Loss of interest in everyday life and activities, including sex
- Troubles in bonding with your baby, feeling unable to love the baby
- Thoughts of harming yourself and/or the baby
As you can see, a variety of symptoms can be related to postpartum depression.
You do not have to experience all of these symptoms (hardly anyone does) in order to suspect of postpartum depression. More significant indicators are the severity and lasting of symptoms.
Things to keep in mind while self-diagnosing depression symptoms:
- Inconsistent but present: If you experience some of these feelings and behaviors rarely, they last couple of hours to 1-3 days.
- Frequent and returning: If you feel good most of the time, you are probably just tired or have a couple of bad days.
- Disrupts your daily functioning: If the symptoms last two weeks or longer, the possibility that you have postpartum depression is highly a possibility.
In any case, it is always better to visit your physician and discuss your feelings in detail.
What are the Postpartum Depression Causes?
Numerous women faced with postpartum depression face the feeling of inadequacy and incompetence.
They feel like they are the only ones with the problem. While, other women all seem to be perfectly capable for motherhood from the first moment.
Motherhood is tough and it hits harder on more than one new mothers.
Some of the women experience less trouble than others in their. postpartum period. It does not mean they are better mothers.
Postpartum depression is influenced by several causes, and most importantly – it is not your fault!
Here are some of its possible causes:
- During pregnancy and after the childbirth, you undergo severe physical changes. This will certainly leave some of the following consequences:
- After the childbirth, the level of hormones (estrogen and progesterone) drop dramatically – this is the most relevant factor influencing postpartum depression
- Hormones produced by your thyroid gland might also drop significantly – which might cause fatigue and depression
- Blood volume, blood pressure, immune system, metabolism – everything changes, causing mood swings
- After the childbirth, you become more emotional. The following emotional changes are also factors that can cause postpartum depression:
- You feel overwhelmed by all the changes in your life.
- Feeling of anxiousness surfaces and your start questioning your abilities to be the ultimate super mom you dreamt to be.
- You might feel different in terms of finding your self-identity
- When you have a baby, your life changes completely. You need to take care about another human being. The lifestyle changes that happen to you can also influence depression including:
- Your baby is colicky, does not sleep well, or is simply too demanding – either way, you cannot rest or relax
- Older children are not very supportive.
- Your partner or other loved ones are do not have understanding for you, they do not provide care and support you need
- You have financial or other objective problems
I think I have many of these postpartum depression symptoms. What should I do now?
Visit your doctor and explain all your symptoms to him/her.
You will need medical help as postpartum depression symptoms are not likely to fade automatically.
In addition to all, here are some things you can do to help yourself overcome this period:
- Sleep and eat well: If you cannot, do whatever you can to rest and relax and take some healthy nutrients.
- Ask for help and support: Your loved ones will be glad to provide them.
- Go for a walk: You need the change of scenery once in a while.
- Stop feeling guilty: Postpartum depression is not your fault, and it is not who you are – it is a treatable illness.
Postpartum depression can become a serious condition if not treated.
If you or your loved one suffer from postpartum depression – seek professional help.
Don’t give up until you feel better or just like post-pregnancy.