Postpartum Depression

depressionTaking care of a newborn is hard work. No matter how ready you are, you will have some “ups” and “downs.”

Feelings After Your Baby is Born

Many women experience the “Baby Blues". It can happen from birth through the first two weeks. You may cry for no reason or be impatient, annoyed, restless or anxious. You may also feel very tired, due to lack of sleep. Symptoms of “the blues” last a short time and often go away on their own, sometimes as quickly as they came.

What is Postpartum Depression?

Postpartum Depression is a mood disorder that can occur a couple weeks to a year after the birth of your baby, a miscarriage, or stillbirth. Women of all ages, racial/ethnic backgrounds, and economic status are impacted. As many as 1 in 8 women are affected by this mood disorder. Postpartum depression is not the same for everyone.

What are the Signs of Postpartum Depression?

You may experience one or more of these symptoms:

  • Feeling sad, anxious or like you can't handle things
  • Thoughts of harming your baby or yourself
  • Feelings of being a “bad mom”
  • Little to no interest in your new baby, family, and friends
  • Over-concern for your new baby
  • Feeling irritable, angry, or nervous
  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Tiredness (low energy or feeling exhausted)
  • Lots of crying
  • Feeling guilty, worthless or hopeless
  • Lack of sex drive (or no sex drive)
  • Eating a lot more or eating a lot less
  • Fear of “going crazy”
  • Can’t enjoy life as much as you did in the past

What Might Cause Postpartum Depression?

  • Prior experience with Postpartum Depression
  • Personal or family history of depression
  • Lack of support from family and friends
  • High levels of stress
  • Loss of freedom
  • Medical problems with your baby or yourself
  • Not getting enough sleep
  • Sudden changes in your home and/or work routine

What is Postpartum Psychosis?

Postpartum Psychosis (PPP) is a very severe and rare postpartum disorder. PPP is an emergency and requires immediate medical attention.

Call your doctor or 911 immediately if you or a mom in your life has these symptoms: feelings of wanting to kill yourself or someone else, hallucinations, delusions (usually religious), inability to sleep, severe anxiety and agitation, or strange feelings and behavior.

Are there other Postpartum Mood Disorders?

Women can also experience other postpartum mood disorders. Perinatal Support Washington offers more detailed information about mood symptoms and treatment.

Where is Help Available?

If think you may be suffering from a postpartum mood disorder, contact your doctor, nurse of midwife right away. Treatment depends on the type and severity of your symptoms. All of the symptoms are treatable with support and professional help. Don’t be embarrassed or shy to talk to your doctor about medical treatment, they will offer more information and resources to help you. Talk to them about what you are feeling.

It can help to talk to other mothers about their experiences, spend time with people you care about, or join a support group. Talk to your husband, partner, family and friends about how you are feeling.

Additional Resources

Call the Postpartum International Support of Washington’s free support line anytime at 1-888-404-7763. Make a Postpartum Promise Contract for yourself, and give the other one to whomever will support you.

Reference: The information above was cited from the Washington State Postpartum Depression (PPD) Awareness Campaign. The campaign is led by the Council for Children & Families and other partner organizations. Learn more about the campaign.