Welcoming a newborn into the family can be a highly emotional time, especially for new mothers. They may be overwhelmed by the sudden change in responsibilities and lifestyles. However, sometimes it can also bring in something unexpected: Post-partum blues, or more severely, Post-partum depression.
Is it normal to feel depressed after delivery?
Following childbirth, many moms face mood swings, anxiety, insomnia and even crying spells. According to Mayo Clinic, these ‘baby blues’ can begin within the first few days of delivery and typically resolves by two weeks. Sometimes, this dip in one’s emotions can be longer lasting. Rarely, this may progress to its extreme, when it is called ‘Post-Partum Psychosis’.
What symptoms does Post-Partum Depression present as?
In case of ‘baby blues’, the mother may be anxious, irritable, sad, having trouble sleeping, eating less, and unable to concentrate on everyday tasks. These symptoms usually disappear in a week or two.
With Post-Partum Depression, although initially mistaken for ‘baby blues’, the symptoms last longer and are more intense. Some of its features include:
*Severe mood swings
*Feelings of shame, guilt, worthlessness
*Difficulty enjoying previously pleasurable activities
*Loss of appetite, sleep, energy
*Inability to bond with your baby
*Irritability and excess anger
*Withdrawal from family, friends
*Difficulty bonding with your baby
*Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
These symptoms may be present from the beginning, or may present even six months after delivery. They need to be addressed early, as left without treatment, the illness can take months to resolve.
If the signs and symptoms include the following:
*Hallucinations and Delusions
*Confusion and Disorientation
*Obsessive behavior regarding your baby
It could be Post-Partum Psychosis, which requires immediate redressal.
When should you see a doctor?
When it comes to depression, it may be embarrassing or seem trivial enough to be dismissed as ‘normal’. Feel free to talk about your concerns, and approach your doctor if you suspect you have Post-Partum Depression. It is especially important to do so, if symptoms persist beyond two weeks, interfere with your everyday life and bonding with your child, or if they get worse.