Understand the Symptoms of Postpartum Depression
Every mother has bad days and experience depressive symptoms now and then, and especially when you are a mother. However, PPD isn’t one or a bunch of bad days, and women with PPD experience symptoms most of the time.
And symptoms of PPD go on for two or weeks or longer. They make it harder to live your life and care for your loved ones almost every day.
You may have PPD if you had had a baby within the last 12 months and experiencesome of the following symptoms:
- You often feel overwhelmed. This isn’t just general exhaustion from the demands of motherhood. You are often struggling to be a mother and often wonder why you wanted to be a mother in the first place.
- You feel guilty. You feel like you should be handling motherhood better, you cry often, and you don’t feel happiness or a connection with your baby like you should. You may also wonder whether your baby is better without you.
- You are irritated and angry. Your patience is short, everything seems to annoy you, or you may even feel all-out rage. You may also feel resentment towards your partner, baby, and friends who do not have babies.
- You feel emptiness and numbness. It is like you are just going through life’s motions.
- You feel sadness that is unending. You are always crying even when there is nothing to cry about.
- You feel hopelessness. It is as if nothing will ever get better. You feel as if you are failing and cannot change your circumstances.
- You are not eating, or you are eating to feel better.
- You cannot sleep at night because your mind is racing or maybe you sleep all the time. Your sleep is off, and it is not because you have a newborn to care for.
- You are in a fog. You can’t focus or concentrate, and you always forget things. You can’t find the words and your decision making is off.
- You are feeling a disconnection. You are not connecting with anyone, including your baby, and you don’t feel anyone understands what you are going through.
- Nothing seems to fix what you are feeling even though you are taking your vitamins, exercising, and practicing stress management. And you can’t just can’t snap out this.
- You think about running away and leaving your family behind. Or you have even thought about taking too many pills or finding some other way to end it all.
- You know something just isn’t right. You may not know what it is, but it makes you feel as if you are going crazy.
- You are afraid this is how it is from now, and you will never be your old self ever again.
- You are afraid that you will be judged for seeking help or that your baby could be taken away from you.
You may not experience all or most of the symptoms of PPD. This is because PPD is not a one-size-fits-all condition and your experience may include a few symptoms, or there may be symptoms that don’t and never will affect you.
Baby Blues vs. Postpartum Depression: The Difference Between Baby Blues and Postpartum
It is important for women and their partners to know the signs and symptoms of the baby blues and postpartum depression before their baby is born, so they are aware of all the changes that may affect them after their baby arrives.
Most women experience the baby blues for a short period, while others experience PPD, which is more severe, persistent and requires treatment.
Here is how to recognize the difference between the baby blues and postpartum depression:
- You will feel weepy and emotional.
- Your symptoms start around a couple of days after giving birth and last no longer than two weeks.
- You may also experience mood swings, irritability, anxiety, and struggle with your focus and concentration for short periods throughout your day.
- Your symptoms last more than two weeks, are severe and affect your ability to care for yourself and new baby and/or other children.
- Feelings of anxiety, sadness, irritability, guilt, lack of interest in your baby, changes to your sleep and diet, concentration and focus issues, thoughts of hopelessness or harming yourself and others, raging thoughts, fatigue and excessive worry.
- PPD often emerges weeks after giving birth, rather than days, but it is not unusual for it to occur earlier.
The general rule is any symptoms of depression and/or anxiety lasting two or more weeks should be brought to the attention of your doctor. Your doctor will attempt to make a diagnosis and may prescribe treatments or refer you to a therapist or other mental health professional.