As many as three out of four new mothers experience what is euphemistically called “the baby blues.” This could involve crying spells, insomnia, moodiness, and more for as many as two weeks. As challenging as this can feel, it is not the same as Postpartum Depression. This type of depression impacts about 15 percent of women after giving birth and can last for months.
Postpartum Depression has the potential to impact your health and the health of your newborn child. Therefore, it is critical that expecting mothers are aware of what to look for. With that in mind, let’s learn more about Postpartum Depression.
Is Postpartum Depression Normal?
Short answer: no. But let’s back up a little first. Never underestimate the changes you undergo upon having a baby. To call it life-changing is putting it mildly. It impacts your body (and hormones), mind, finances, social life, and more. That’s partly why baby blues are so common—especially for first-time parents.
Postpartum Depression (PPD) manifests in far more intense and long-lasting ways, e.g., emptiness, loneliness, profound sadness, and uncontrollable mood swings. In very, very rare cases, it manifests as Postpartum Psychosis which requires emergency medical care.
- Persistent worrying
- Feeling incapable of handling motherhood
- Feeling sad and guilty
- Experiencing changes in your appetite, sleep habits, and energy levels
- Crying even when you don’t know why
- Losing interest in activities that once gave you pleasure
- Inability to focus, concentrate, or make decisions
- Thoughts of death, dying, or suicide
As challenging as all those symptoms are, perhaps the most disturbing signs of PPD involve losing interest in caring for your child and/or having thoughts of hurting them. These symptoms highlight the importance of seeking help. Left unchecked, PPD can negatively impact your new baby. The lack of bonding, in particular, can result in the following:
- Insufficient medical care for your child
- Behavioral problems
- Learning deficits
- Poor social skills
Will You Get PPD?
PPD affects about 1 in 7 new parents. If this is not your first child and you have had PPD before, your risk jumps from 15 to 30 percent. Also, a family history of depression increases your risk. Other risk factors include:
- Health conditions that complicate the pregnancy
- Lack of support
- Having a child with special needs
- Being under 20 years of age
- Being a single mother
- Going through conflict with your partner
- Feeling uncertain about becoming a parent
Diagnosis, Treatment, and Coping
There is no test for PPD, but it can be identified via screening with a mental health professional. From there, a treatment plan is discussed. Depending on your case’s specifics and severity, treatment could involve therapy, medication, or participation in a support group. In addition, you’ll be guided through some self-help steps you can take to complement the treatment. For example:
- Cut yourself some slack: Having a baby is hard, and there is no shame in feeling overwhelmed.
- Practice daily self-care: Make healthy eating choices, maintain regular sleep patterns, and get in some physical movement and exercise.
- Stay connected with friends and family: Ask for help. Do not isolate yourself. If you can get child care for a day, get outside with friends and have fun.
- Relaxation techniques: It could be yoga or meditation. You might prefer taking a bath or reading a book. Whatever relaxes you, be sure to put it on your schedule.
Help is Available, Contact Our Team of Columbus Ohio Therapists
You might be thinking about getting pregnant. You might already be pregnant or have had a baby. Whatever stage you’re in, ask for help. Therapy is an ideal way to prepare yourself for the tasks ahead. We would love to connect with you and talk more about this soon. Our team would be honored to support you navigate the difficulties of postpartum depression from our Columbus, OH-based practice. You can start your therapy journey by following these simple steps:
- Contact Blue Boat Counseling.
- Get to know a caring therapist
- Start receiving the postpartum support you deserve
Other Services Offered With Blue Boat Counseling
Depression therapy isn’t the only service Blue Boat Counseling offers support for. We know that you may experience more than one mental health concern at a time, which is why we are happy to offer a variety of mental health services. We also offer mental health services including anxiety therapy, couples therapy, teen and family therapy, and veteran therapy. All services are offered both in-person and online. You can more by visiting our blog today!