Recognizing Postpartum Depression

Mother and baby on bed

Becoming a parent is often associated with a lot of positive emotions – the joy of meeting your little one, the delight of introducing them to friends and family, and, for some, the relief of no longer being pregnant. What is less talked about is that giving birth can also be associated with a lot of negative emotions and physical feelings.

If these symptoms persist beyond two weeks, worsen, or severely interfere with regular life activities, talk to your doctor about finding help. Often combinations of medication and therapy help new parents get back on track. If you are having thoughts about hurting yourself or someone else, call 911. You can also contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (Lifeline) at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text HELLO to 741741.

“Baby blues” happen to many people after they have given birth. Caring for an infant around the clock is quite an adjustment, and some feelings of exhaustion and being overwhelmed are natural. Often these feelings clear up quickly. However, if these feelings stick around or worsen, postpartum depression may be involved.

Postpartum depression is a blanket term for a host of feelings someone may suffer after giving birth or completing the adoption process, including anxiety, extreme fatigue, irritability, lack of interest in the baby, mood swings, and lack of hope. There are many potential factors that cause PPD, including drastic changes in hormone levels, exhaustion of new schedules, and social and psychological changes. It’s important to note that PPD is a medical issue. It does not occur because a new parent has done anything wrong.