6 Warning Signs of Postpartum Depression
Most people have a basic idea of what Postpartum Depression (PPD) is. Thankfully, in recent years, the effects of PPD have been brought to light more than ever before. That’s helped to reduce stigmas surrounding the condition and has helped many women recognize their symptoms sooner.
Whether you’re a woman who is about to give birth or you recently had a baby, and you feel like something is “off,” it’s essential to know those signs. Let’s take a closer look at a few of them, so you can get the help you deserve if you’re struggling.
1. Beyond “Baby Blues”
Many women deal with some sadness or struggle with feeling “down” after giving birth. These feelings are often referred to as the “baby blues,” and they’re perfectly normal. However, if the feelings persist for several weeks and you start to feel both hopeless and helpless, it could be a sign that you’re dealing with something more serious—like PPD.
2. Changes in Sleeping and Eating Habits
Depression can cause big habitual changes. Some of the most noticeable are shifts in your sleeping and eating habits. It’s not uncommon for new mothers not to get much sleep with a baby in the house. But, if it’s not your little one that’s keeping you awake, consider the source. Whether you can’t seem to get enough sleep or you want to sleep all of the time, it’s a red flag that should be taken seriously.
3. Loss of Interest
Just because you’re a new mother doesn’t mean you should stop showing interest in hobbies or activities you typically enjoy. You might be a bit distracted by your newborn at first. But withdrawing from things you love isn’t normal. In fact, losing interest in those hobbies and activities and pulling away from them will likely worsen your PPD as you struggle with hopelessness.
4. You Have Fears About Being a Good Mother
It’s normal to think about your newborn almost all of the time. It’s a major life change, especially for a first-time mother. But, if those thoughts turn to worry, and you start letting negative ideas control the narrative, there’s a good chance you’re dealing with PPD. You might start to think you won’t be a good mother. Or, you might start criticizing yourself or doubting your ability. Without the right support, those doubts can get louder, and your depression could worsen.
5. Sadness Consumes You
One of the big differences between the “baby blues” and PPD is how overwhelming and consuming your sadness is. You might be completely overwhelmed by sadness and guilt every day. It’s not uncommon for mothers with PPD to cry every day, feel unhappy about being a parent, or criticize themselves for not being able to control their feelings. PPD rarely offers any kind of relief.
6. Difficulty Making Decisions
You’ve probably heard of “mom brain”—something people like to say when a woman is forgetful or has a hard time making a decision after having a baby. But there’s a difference between being a little frazzled and depression taking the wheel. PPD can become so overwhelming that you have trouble making decisions. Maybe it’s because you’re exhausted. Maybe it’s because you don’t see the point. Whatever the case, it’s not something to take lightly.
If any of these warning signs sound familiar, don’t hesitate to reach out for help as soon as possible. The good news about Postpartum Depression is that it doesn’t last forever. With the right help, you can manage your symptoms faster and overcome your depression sooner.
Jennifer Perera is a mom of two boys, a spouse and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She is also Certified as a Perinatal Mental Health Professional by Postpartum Support International. She has a private practice in Springfield, New Jersey and also sees clients throughout New Jersey , New York, and Pennsylvania via telehealth. Her passion is helping new moms and dads find their joy again in parenthood through individual and couples counseling. She also runs workshops for new parents, teaching them techniques and strategies to help them have a stronger relationship - built to thrive during the parenthood years. Jennifer specializes in working with parents during the prenatal and postpartum periods and those coping with grief or loss issues surrounding pregnancy.