Pregnancy can be a trying time, with your body undergoing significant changes both during and afterward. Feelings of sadness, emptiness, or emotional numbness can persist for up to two weeks after birth. If you’ve been experiencing symptoms like these for longer than two weeks, it’s important to speak to your women’s health care provider. Some women report feelings of not loving or caring for their new child, and this is often a sign of postpartum depression. Medication and therapy have both been shown to be effective in treating postpartum depression.
Revealing Postpartum Depression and What You Can Do
Feeling sad after pregnancy, often known as the “baby blues,” is a common occurrence. In most cases, this feeling of depression will pass within the first week, often lasting no more than 3 or 5 days. In some women, however, this feeling continues to persist. In cases where the experience lasts longer than two weeks, it’s possible that you’re experiencing postpartum depression. A feeling of emptiness or hopelessness is not expected nor regular. These are good reasons to seek help from your women’s health specialist.
Postpartum depression is about more than just being sad. It’s a mental illness that can affect your physical and mental health and is rooted in the brain. Empty feelings, sadness, and depression that persist for long periods and interfere with daily activities are not a normal part of childbirth. You may feel disconnected, alienated from your child, and not experience care or love for the baby when postpartum depression is present. These experiences can range in severity. Anxiety disorders are another thing women may experience after childbirth.
Symptoms of Postpartum Depression include:
- Feelings of being overwhelmed, hopeless, or sad
- Frequent periods of crying
- Thoughts of harming your child
- Thoughts of harming yourself
- Feelings of disconnection, or that your baby is not your own
- Lacking motivation or energy
- Eating very little, or eating too much
- Sleeping issues.
- Difficulty making decisions or focusing
- Trouble with remembering things clearly
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or not being a good mother
It’s common for those experiencing these symptoms not to want to share them. This is often due to feelings of shame, guilt, or embarrassment. They often feel as though they’re supposed to be happy and that their sadness is wrong, and they will be judged for it. However, there is no truth to the thought that being sad after childbirth makes you a bad mother.
Instead, postpartum depression is triggered by the hormonal changes women undergo while pregnant. The fluctuating levels of progesterone and estrogen rise to be very high during pregnancy, only to plummet back to normal after birth. This rapid fluctuation is thought to be one of the sources of postpartum depression.
Seek Help If You Think You’re Affected
The most vital thing you can do if you think you may be affected by postpartum depression is reaching out to your women’s health provider. They’ll help you determine if you’re experiencing this condition and if a trip to a mental health counselor is necessary.