The birth of a child is a wondrous event that, along with some sleepless nights, brings joy into a family’s life. Unfortunately, this joy can be overshadowed with feelings of sadness and hopelessness for mothers experiencing postpartum depression.
Postpartum depression (PPD) is a very serious illness that can occur in the first few months after the birth of a baby. It can also happen after a miscarriage and stillbirth as well. Beyond feeling sad and hopeless, the affliction can make it very difficult for a mother to bond with and care for her new baby.
It’s important to mention that postpartum depression is not the same thing as having, what is typically referred to as, the “baby blues.” These “blues” are milder and, more often than not, go away in a couple of weeks. The symptoms of postpartum depression, brought on it is thought by significant hormonal changes, can last for several months.
If left untreated, women experiencing postpartum depression are in danger of hurting their baby and themselves.
Signs of Postpartum Depression
If you or a loved one are experiencing any of the following symptoms, please speak with your doctor who can connect you with a professional therapist. You don’t have to suffer alone.
Extreme Anxiety or Worry
All new mothers are nervous. After all, taking care of a newborn baby is a huge responsibility. But when fears become irrational and even increase in severity over time, this can be a sign of PPD. For instance, a mother who refuses to leave the house because she is convinced she and her child will get into a car accident. Or a mother who is terrified to bathe her baby because she believes her baby could drown.
Changes to Sleeping or Eating Habits
A change in eating or sleeping habits is always a sign that something may be going on with a new mother. For instance, if you or someone you know suddenly begins eating far more than you used to, or, stops eating altogether, this is a red flag that PPD may be the cause.
Also, new mothers are usually exhausted and should have little trouble falling asleep when given the opportunity to rest. If sleep cycles seem disrupted, it could be a sign of a bigger issue.
Feelings of Rage
New mothers who have PPD may find themselves with feelings of chronic irritability and even rage. Should a woman suddenly find herself flying off the handle or acting out in angry, aggressive ways, something she’s never done in the past, it could be a sign that something more may be going on.
Mothers experiencing PPD need a lot of support. This means asking not just how the baby is, but how she is and really listening to the answer. It also means helping take care of the baby so the new mother can rest and get the help she needs.
If you or a loved one is interested in exploring treatment, please contact me today. I would be happy to speak with you about how I may be able to help.
Harini Sukumaran is a Qualified Mental Health Professional and certified Ayurvedic Physician who is passionate about helping children to become less stressed by giving them and their parents tools, support and encouragement. Her passion also includes helping Women suffering from trauma, depression, anxiety and Pregnancy/Postpartum mood disorders. She received her Master’s of Science in Counseling Psychology and Master’s in Marriage, Couple’s and Family Counseling with special concentration in Children (Play Therapy), Women and Families.