Getting Help for Postpartum Depression
Introducing a newborn baby into the family can bring major changes in daily routines, finances, relationship dynamics, emotional struggles, and many other elements. Mothers may even experience depression in the form of “baby blues” after childbirth, which can include mood swings, appetite problems, trouble sleeping, and crying. Baby blues can last up to weeks. In other cases, new moms can experience a more severe, long-lasting form of depression called postpartum depression.
Postpartum depression affects women after giving birth, although in some cases it can take months to appear. Although postpartum depression is sometimes mistaken for baby blues, the symptoms and severity last much longer. The following points are some common signs and symptoms of postpartum depression.
- Severe mood swings
- Excessive crying
- Withdrawing from family/friends
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of libido
- Trouble sleeping or excessive sleeping
- Feeling frequently fatigued
- Losing interest in former hobbies
- Feeling hopeless, worthless, overwhelmed, shame, or inadequacy
- Difficulty making decisions
- Severe anxiety or frequent panic attacks
- Difficulty bonding with your baby
- Thoughts of harming yourself of the baby
- Thoughts of death or suicide
Although the exact causes of postpartum depression are unknown, research shows that the onset of depression is usually caused by stressful events, an imbalance of brain chemicals, or both. The following elements may contribute to postpartum depression.
- Childbirth complications
- Physical changes of pregnancy
- Lack of social or family support
- Financial difficulties
- Existing/former mental health problems
- Hormonal changes after birth
If left untreated, postpartum depression can last up to several months or years. Postpartum depression can also impact the father and interfere in the parents’ ability to connect and raise the newborn. Help or treatment can be found through a qualified therapist. If you or a loved one is struggling with depression, please visit our online directory to get in contact with one of our Marriage and Family Therapists for support.
Find a Therapist