After the birth of your baby, you expect to feel joyous and excited, not depressed and anxious. The majority of women experience the baby blues after childbirth. Many women state that they feel tearful, overwhelmed, and overall emotionally fragile. These feelings are triggered by the sudden change in hormones after delivery, stress, isolation, sleep deprivation and fatigue. These feeling begin the first few days after childbirth, and then peak around a week, and then taper off by the end of the second week.
Postpartum depression, on the other hand, can often feel like the baby blues but symptoms can occur through the first year after delivery. The symptoms of both postpartum depression and the baby blues are very similar, but postpartum are more severe, sometimes leading to suicidal thoughts or the inability to care for your newborn.
Symptoms of postpartum depression
Symptoms can start at any time during pregnancy through the entire first year after delivery.
- Feelings of anger or irritability
- Lack of interest in the baby
- Appetite and sleep disturbance
- Crying and sadness
- Feelings of guilt, shame, or hopelessness
- Loss of interest, joy or pleasure in things you used to enjoy
- Possible thoughts of harming the baby or yourself.
All of these symptoms vary and differ depending on the person.
- A personal or family history of depression, anxiety, or postpartum depression
- Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD or PMS)
- Inadequate support in caring for the baby
- Financial stress
- Martial stress
- Complications in pregnancy, birth or breastfeeding
- A major recent life event: loss, house move, job loss
- Mothers of multiples
- Mothers whose infants are in Neonatal Intensive Care (NICU)
- Mothers who’ve gone through infertility treatments
- Women with thyroid imbalance
- Women with any form of diabetes (type 1, type 2, or gestational)
Support Groups and Resources:
Postpartum is temporary and treatable. If you feel that you may be experiencing any of the symptoms, know that you are not to blame and it is not your fault. 1 in 7 women suffer from postpartum depression, so be kind to yourself and know that you are not alone.
In care of emergency: the Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
PSI Washington Support Group
Location: Seattle, WA
Adjusting to Parenthood: Drop-In Support Group
Location: Seattle Holistic Center 7700 Aurora Ave N. Seattle, WA 98103.
Phone: 206-659-7773, Mia Edidin, LICSW
Conversations About Motherhood
Location: Redmond Town Center 7303 164th Ave NE, Suite I-145 Redmond, WA 98052