When you give birth, it is typical to experience what is called “the baby blues.” The baby blues last only a few days after your child is born, and may cause you to experience moodiness, sadness, anxiety, irritability, trouble sleeping, and difficulty concentrating. These feelings are normal, particularly when you have experienced such a huge life change. After a week or two, however, these feelings should go away. If they endure and grow more intense, you may be experiencing postpartum depression.
Postpartum depression is incredibly common; 1 in 7 women experience it after giving birth. However, many women feel very ashamed about their postpartum depression, and choose to hide it rather than treat it. Experiencing depression after the birth of your child does not mean that you do not love your child or aren’t happy with your new life as a mom. While there is no one cause of postpartum depression, it may be influenced by the change in hormones you experience after birth. Additionally, having a baby is a joyous but very overwhelming experience, and between new responsibilities, changes in your body and self-perception, and sleep deprivation, there are several emotional factors that may contribute to your postpartum depression.
Postpartum depression has similar symptoms to the baby blues, but they last up to six months after you give birth. Common symptoms include depressed mood, crying excessively, feeling withdrawn, extreme swings in mood, feelings of worthlessness, severe anxiety, fatigue, reduced interest in things you used to enjoy, thoughts of harming yourself or your baby, and persistent suicidal thoughts.
Clearly, postpartum depression is a serious condition that should be treated as soon as possible. Fortunately, postpartum depression is treatable. Treatment options include antidepressants, psychotherapy, or a combination of both. With the right treatment method, postpartum depression should go away within six months. If it continues, you may have developed chronic depression, and may need to reevaluate treatment.
If you have recently given birth and are experiencing symptoms of postpartum depression, we can help you. Kentlands Psychotherapy in Gaithersburg, MD has specialists on staff for postpartum depression. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.