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Postpartum Depression

mother-and-baby-clipart-xcgKRbdcA (1)Postpartum Depression

By: Staci Lee Schnell, M.S.,C.S., LMFT

Anyone can develop a perinatal mood disorder; however, here are some risk factors to be aware of:

  • Personal or Family history of Depression or Anxiety
  • History of severe PMS or PMDD
  • Chronic Pain or Illness
  • Fertility Treatments
  • Miscarriage
  • Traumatic or Stressful Pregnancy or Birthing Experience
  • Abrupt Discontinuation of Breastfeeding
  • Substance Abuse

 

Knowing the signs and symptoms of a perinatal mood disorder such as Postpartum Depression (PPD) or Anxiety are very important in order to get the appropriate help. Many new Moms have bad days or experience the “baby blues”, but PPD and Anxiety are not just bad days.  15-20% of new mothers will experience a perinatal mood disorder.  Women with PPD or Anxiety have the below symptoms most of the time, for a period of at least 2 weeks or longer, and these symptoms make it feel very hard to live life each day.

 

Postpartum Depression Symptoms

If you have had a baby within the last 12 months and are experiencing some of these symptoms you may have Postpartum Depression:

  • Overwhelmed: Feeling like you can’t handle being a mother, wondering whether you should have become a mother in the first place.

 

  • Guilty: Believing you should be handling new motherhood better and your baby deserves better.  Feeling shame and asking yourself “why can’t I snap out of this?”

 

  • Disconnected: Not feeling the happiness or connection that you thought you would. A lack of bonding.

 

  • Angry: Feeling irritated, angry, annoyed, resentment or even out of control rage.

 

  • Empty: Feeling empty, numb or disconnected. Just going through the motions and feeling nothing.

 

  • Sad: Feeling sadness beyond “baby blues”

 

  • Hopeless: Felling like it will never get better and very confused and scared.

 

  • Afraid: Feeling like you will never be yourself again and that others will judge you. Scared you may hurt yourself or your baby.

 

  • Appetite: No appetite, or eating all the “wrong” things.

 

  • Insomnia: Can’t sleep, even when baby is sleeping and you are exhausted.

 

  • Brain Fog: Lack of concentration and focus.

 

Postpartum Anxiety Symptoms

If you have had a baby within the last 12 months and are experiencing some of these symptoms you may have Postpartum Anxiety:

  • Can’t Stop: You feel like you have to be doing something at all times. Your thoughts are racing. You can’t quiet your mind. You can’t settle down. You can’t relax.

 

  • Excessive Worries and Fears: You feel really worried all the time. You are constantly questioning yourself. You feel a sense of dread.

 

  • Disturbing Thoughts:  You are having scary thoughts. These thoughts may start with the words “What if …”

 

  • Physical Symptoms: Backaches, Headaches, Shakiness, Panic Attacks, Stomach aches, or Nausea.

 

  • Appetite: No appetite, or eating all the “wrong” things.

 

  • Insomnia: Can’t sleep, even when baby is sleeping and you are exhausted.

 

 

If you are having the symptoms listed above, seek treatment.  PPD and Anxiety are temporary and very treatable with professional help. Medication, therapy, and support groups are all appropriate and extremely helpful.  Please remember, new motherhood is challenging for everyone, but you should not be constantly miserable.  If you find yourself wondering, “Is this normal? A good question to ask your self is, “Is this normal behavior for me?”  If it’s not, there is help.  You do not need to suffer! Call your doctor, therapist, or local support group.

 

Important: If you are having moments where it seems like you can see or hear things no one else can, if you are feeling paranoid as if others are out to get you, or if you are having thoughts of harming yourself or others, it’s important to reach out for help right now.  These symptoms require immediate attention as you could be experiencing Postpartum Psychosis.  If you have these symptoms, your illness has the potential to take over and lead you to do things that you wouldn’t normally do.  In order to avoid that it is important to reach out for help right away so that trained professionals can help you get stabilized and healthy. There are countless women who have had postpartum psychosis and recovered 100%.

 

 

 

Resources:

http://postpartumprogress.org/COMMUNITY/

 

http://www.postpartum.net/

 

EMERGENCY: 911

 

South Florida Crisis Intervention: Dial 211
SUICIDE PREVENTION HOTLINE: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

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