Postpartum depression impacts about 1 in 7 women after they give birth. While many more women struggle with the “baby blues,” PPD is far more serious and can make you feel like the world is closing in around you. It’s not uncommon for new mothers with PPD to feel a lot of shame and guilt. You might think you’re a “bad” mother or that you’ll never get past the way you’re feeling right now. The good news? Postpartum depression absolutely doesn’t make you a bad mother. The better news is that it doesn’t last forever.
Let’s take a closer look at what to expect from PPD and how long it typically lasts for new mothers.
Do You Have PPD?
The first step in overcoming PPD is recognizing whether you’re actually dealing with it or if you just have the baby blues. The baby blues are quite common, but they typically don’t have the strong negative impact on your life that postpartum depression does. Some of the most common symptoms of PPD include anger, anxiety, guilt, and a sense of hopelessness. You might find yourself crying for no real reason, or you might be quick to “snap” at the people around you. PPD can also make it difficult to concentrate and cause unwanted thoughts. From a physical standpoint, it can cause weight fluctuations and make it difficult to get the sleep you need. Most importantly, postpartum depression can make you feel like you’re not bonding with your child.
How Long Does Postpartum Depression Last?
There’s no average length of time for PPD. Studies have suggested that most symptoms tend to improve or completely resolve between 3-6 months, but everyone is different in their struggle. For some new mothers, the symptoms last a couple of weeks, while others deal with it for up to twelve months. The good news is that most cases of PPD completely go away after a period of time. They tend to resolve even faster with help and treatment, including professional mental health support.
Can PPD Last Forever?
For a smaller percentage of women, PPD can become a permanent condition. This mostly occurs in women who haven’t sought out treatment or support of any kind. Unfortunately, this lasting depression can cause a mother to have problems connecting with her baby, which can lead to lifelong issues. The baby might struggle with behavioral and/or mental health issues that affect their development into adulthood. For mothers, untreated PPD can lead to lasting mental health issues, including chronic depression. Not only are you more likely to experience the symptoms listed above, but they might become more severe and hard to manage.
What Can You Do?
If you or someone you know is struggling after giving birth, the first step is receiving a proper diagnosis. Knowing the difference between PPD and the baby blues is essential, and a doctor or mental health professional can help. If you do have PPD, you don’t have to keep struggling with the symptoms alone. You also don’t have to worry about dealing with it for the rest of your life. Seeking professional help is the best thing you can do for yourself and your child.
Postpartum depression can be both scary and isolating. It’s not always easy to take that first step and reach out for help, but it will make the biggest difference in your life and your dedication to your little one. Don’t hesitate to contact me to set up an appointment. Together, we’ll work to help you fight back against the effects of PPD, so you can take control of your life again and enjoy the beauty of being a new mother.
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 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.