For years, postpartum depression was written off as the “baby blues”. Mothers would struggle for weeks, even years, with feelings of sadness, irritability, or even numbness. In recent years postpartum has not only been diagnosed more but the stigma around it has started to fade away. Everyone, from the average woman to celebrities, has experienced this type of depression. It doesn’t make one a bad parent, it’s like any other mental illness in that it’s not one’s fault.
There are warning signs to postpartum that often get overlooked or written off as common adjustments to parenting. Here are a few warning signs to look for, though. Seek help from one of Florida’s top psychiatrist if you or someone you know has any of these signs.
Mood swings will come with motherhood. The body will have to go through a hormonal change not to mention there are the stress and fatigue that comes with a newborn. If you consistently have mood swings for more than two weeks that are severe, reoccurring, or without a cause, you could have postpartum depression.
Difficulty Bonding With Baby
Many mothers that have postpartum have difficulty bonding with their babies. They may not even want to hold them or in extreme cases feel as if the baby isn’t even theirs. It can take some time to bond with a child, just because you carried them for nine months doesn’t mean it happens the second you hold them. If it’s been a few weeks and you still feel like you aren’t connecting with your child contact your doctor as you may have postpartum.
Depressed Moods or Excessive Crying
Crying after having a baby is nothing to cause concerns. Between the lack of sleep, the stress, and the hormones crying is normal. However, when depressed moods hit or crying becomes excessive it might be a sign of postpartum depression.
Intense Irritability or Anger
Stress and lack of sleep will cause anyone to be irritable or angry. These moods should pass though and won’t happen often. If you feel like you are intensely irritable or angry talk to your doctor about it.
A new baby can be a handful so if a mother starts pulling away and withdrawing from family and friends it can be a sign of postpartum. Just like with other types of depression, they pull away to try to hide what they’re feeling. If someone you know and love has started to withdraw after having a baby talk to them about postpartum.
Changes in Eating or Sleeping Habits
There’s no getting around the lack of sleep when a baby arrives and focusing on their schedule means that sometimes you just forget to eat. Postpartum can hit anytime within a year of giving birth, though. When a mother starts sleeping too much or too little or eating too much or too little it is a sign of something wrong. This symptom and warning sign is one of the most consistent ones throughout all types of depression.
Loss of Energy
Being a parent, especially to a baby, is tiring. Excessive and overwhelming fatigue or loss of energy isn’t normal, though. If someone doesn’t have enough energy to do anything and it is impacting their ability to parent and live then it is more than just normal sleep deprivation.
Feelings of Shame, Guilt, or Worthlessness
Having postpartum and feeling so down after having a beautiful baby can make mothers feel shameful, guilty, or worthless. They seem themselves as ugly and unworthy.
Thoughts of Harming Oneself or Baby
This is one of the more extreme symptoms of postpartum. Luckily, most women don’t have harmful thoughts about themselves or their babies. Unfortunately, though the number one cause of infant deaths is at the hands of their parents. Postpartum depression can make mothers feel extremely disconnected from their children or convince themselves that their babies are suffering just how they are. Any harmful thoughts are cause for immediate concern and you should seek the help of a top Florida psychiatrist.
Most of these symptoms occur with any new parent, which causes people to write them off as typical adjustments or the baby blues. The difference between postpartum depression and standard baby blues has to do with severity and length. Any new parent will have to make life adjustments, will be stressed, or feel tired. It’s when these symptoms last for more than two weeks or are so severe they put people at risk or severely disrupt their life should they seek help.
Having postpartum depression doesn’t make someone a bad parent. It is a mental illness that affects many women every day. There is no need to suffer through it alone and quietly. Talk to your doctor or seek out one of Florida’s top psychiatrist to get help today.