If you’re a new mom who recently gave birth, then you’ll be experiencing a whirlwind of emotions – both good and bad. It’s normal for a new mom who has gone through pregnancy and birth to feel all types of different emotions, and it’s also normal for them to experience the ‘baby blues.’
However, some of the time, these emotions and ‘baby blues’ turn into something more serious, which is commonly known as postpartum depression. In very rare circumstances, an extreme mood altering condition called postpartum psychosis can occur, and like postpartum depression can last a lot longer. Let’s take a look at postpartum depression, including its symptoms and causes.
What is Postpartum Depression?
Postpartum depression, often associated with the term ‘the baby blues,’ is a mental health issue that may occur to a new mom after she has given birth. She might begin to experience signs of postpartum depression within the first couple of days after birth, and it generally lasts two weeks, although sometimes it lasts a lot longer.
Symptoms of Postpartum Depression
There are a great number of different symptoms associated with postpartum depression and the ‘baby blues.’ If you’re just experiencing the ‘baby blues,’ then you might feel overwhelmed, irritable, sad, and anxious. You might be having issues getting food down and sleeping – although, with a new baby, you’re most likely already sleep-deprived.
In terms of postpartum depression, while some symptoms might overlap with the ‘baby blues,’ there are a lot more that can manifest themselves. You might be feeling depressed, and you might be finding it difficult to bond with your baby. You might be trying to keep your distance from friends and family, and you might not have as much interest in your usual hobbies and interests. You may also feel like you can’t be a good mom, and surrounding this are feelings of inadequacy, shame, guilt, and worthlessness.
Causes of Postpartum Depression
While there is no single underlying catalyst of postpartum depression, there are a few possible catalysts for this mood-altering mental condition.
Post-childbirth, it’s natural for new moms hormones to reduce dramatically, from hormones associated with your thyroid, to estrogen. You might also be experiencing severe sleep deprivation as a result of your newborn, as well as feelings of anxiety around being able to take care of them, as well as yourself. You might also feel a sense of worthlessness, or that you’ve no longer got control over your life.
If you have a history of depression either in the family or with yourself, then it’s essential to consult with your healthcare professional as soon as possible. If you’re in the middle of your pregnancy, then your doctor might ask if they can monitor you closely for any signs of depression.
If you’re postpartum, then your healthcare professional might request an early check-up to ensure that any symptoms you’re experiencing as just a result of the ‘baby blues’ and not long-term depression. Your healthcare professional will be able to advise you on the best way forward either way.