Many women experience postpartum depression. When they have their baby, they expect everything to be wonderful and perfect, but sometimes sleep deprivation, hormonal changes and other factors can combine to cause postpartum depression. Mild cases are referred to as “baby blues” while severe cases are often referred to as postpartum psychosis.
No one is positive why some people get postpartum depression, and others do not, but it seems to be brought on by the changes in hormone levels that occur after pregnancy. Any woman can get postpartum depression in the months after childbirth, miscarriage or stillbirth.
Before you can do anything to help yourself with postpartum depression you have to know what to look for. A woman who has postpartum depression may exhibit the following signs:
1. They may feel very sad, hopeless and empty. Even with friends and family supporting them and their new addition, they may not feel the love and support; they may just feel overwhelmed.
2. They may feel anxious about things that do not normally cause anxiety.
3. They may lose pleasure in everyday things. They may even lose interest in their baby.
4. They may not feel hungry and may lose weight. (But some women feel more hungry and gain weight).
5. They may have trouble sleeping, even when their baby is asleep.
6. They may not be able to concentrate.
These symptoms can occur in the first day or two after the birth, and in some women, continue for a couple weeks after the birth. Usually with some support and encouragement, the “baby blues” pass. But what should you do if postpartum depression lasts?
Postpartum depression is serious if you do not recover from it quickly, and it can lead to more severe problems, such as becoming underweight, being unable to feed your baby and losing your health, to name just a few symptoms. To help ensure that your postpartum depression does not last, seek help from friends, family and a physician. This is especially important if you have suffered from depression or postpartum depression in the past. If you are a single parent, or do not have support from friends, family or parents, or if you have a sick or colicky baby that cries non-stop your stress level is too high and you are at higher risk for postpartum depression.
If your depression is lasting more than a couple weeks after your baby is born, first, call your physician. They will evaluate you and evaluate your needs. Second, enlist some help. You and your baby need some TLC, and if you are suffering from lasting postpartum depression, there is a good chance you are not getting enough of the help and support you need. Third, take some time for yourself. Often times our identities get swallowed up when a baby is born and we forget to feed and take care of ourselves because you have your baby’s needs to meet. Have someone sit with the baby, and meet your needs for a few hours. Get your hair done. Take a real nap. Get a pedicure.