Most people have a basic understanding of what postpartum depression (PPD) is. But unless you’re actually going through it, you might not fully realize what the symptoms are or how they can affect you.
Why is that important?
First, it’s essential to understand the difference between PPD and the “baby blues.” It’s not uncommon for new mothers to feel a bit down after having a baby. But, the symptoms of PPD are much more severe and can feel like they’re taking over all of your thoughts.
Second, it’s important to recognize the symptoms so you can get help. PPD doesn’t last forever, but you also can learn how to effectively manage it so you can enjoy this special time with your newborn.
With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at what postpartum depression feels like.
The Symptoms of Postpartum Depression
It can sometimes be difficult to identify PPD because the symptoms can be different for everyone. You might experience them more frequently or with more severity than someone else. However, the following are the most common:
- Feelings of anger
- Worrying about hurting your baby
- Feeling disconnected from your baby
- Doubting your ability to be a good mother
Other symptoms of depression often include fatigue, loss of interest in hobbies, withdrawal from loved ones, and feelings of extreme sadness.
If any of these symptoms sound familiar, there’s a good chance you’re dealing with PPD. But, before you let that acknowledgment drive you even further into a depressed state, recognize that PPD doesn’t make you a bad mother. It also doesn’t mean you need to feel this way forever.
Risk Factors of PPD
Any woman can experience PPD after giving birth, even under the best circumstances. However, some new mothers are at a greater risk of developing depression than others.
Some of those risk factors include a lack of support, financial struggles, a previous history of depression, or a difficult/traumatic pregnancy.
If you fall into one of these categories, life after having a baby can seem overwhelming and even frightening at times, especially if you feel like you don’t have the support you need to move forward.
It’s impossible to say what PPD feels like to each individual woman. But, if you’ve been experiencing any of the symptoms above for several weeks and one or more of these factors apply to you, consider talking to your doctor right away.
Is Postpartum Depression Treatable?
The “good” news when it comes to PPD is that it typically doesn’t last forever. Studies show that most cases of postpartum depression improve over time, with many of them completely resolving after 3–6 months.
Of course, that isn’t the case for everyone. Even if it was, you shouldn’t have to deal with these feelings and symptoms for that long, especially if they’re keeping you from bonding with your baby.
Thankfully, PPD is treatable and often very manageable with the right help and support. Again, talk to your doctor first to rule out any underlying medical issues that could be contributing to your feelings. When you’re sure there are no medical problems, consider talking to a mental health professional. You might also consider joining a support group with other mothers currently experiencing PPD, or those who have gotten through it.
Having a strong support system in your life is also extremely helpful when you’re dealing with postpartum depression. Lean into your partner, family, and friends.
If you’re still struggling, contact Valued Living Therapy to schedule a free consultation with one of our therapists. Being able to reach out for help is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your baby.