Family & Relationships

Postpartum Depression - Recognizing the Signs

By Cassandra Germsheid

In some cases, bringing home your new baby doesn't inspire the happy thoughts and feelings you were expecting. If this is the case, you may be suffering from postpartum depression. If you have suffered depression anytime before giving birth, your chances of suffering postpartum depression are even greater.

Postpartum depression can affect up to 16% of new moms, but this number may actually be higher due to the large number of cases that are undiagnosed.

Postpartum depression is not to be confused with normal 'baby blues'. Baby blues typically last from a few days to a week after childbirth. This is very common and does not need treatment. The best way to cope with it is to ask for help and support from friends and family. It also helps to talk to other new moms who are experiencing similar feelings.

Postpartum depression, on the other hand, can occur anytime in the first year of your baby's life. If you have any of these symptoms, you may be suffering from postpartum depression.

  • Feeling sad, irritable, angry, frustrated

  • Feeling like you are a terrible mother

  • Feeling of guilt and unworthiness

  • Difficulty sleeping, always feeling exhausted

  • Thinking that there is no light at the end of the tunnel

  • Extreme changes in weight, or loss of appetite

  • Difficulty concentrating and memory problems

  • Constantly worrying

  • Crying for no apparent reason

  • Anxiety

  • Not wanting to talk to or be with friends and family

  • Negative feeling towards your baby

  • Blaming your baby for your feelings

  • Wanting to hurt yourself or your baby

Postpartum depression can be life changing. But you need to realize that it is not your fault. And you are not alone - many women suffer from postpartum depression, and there is help available.

Remember that things will get better. Until they do, there are many different support systems - friends, family, doctors and nurses, peer groups, counselors, support groups, and hotlines. There also many books, websites, and other resources with information on dealing with postpartum depression.

Postpartum depression can be mild, moderate, or severe. The most important thing you can do is talk to your doctor to determine what specific treatment, or combination of treatments, may work best for you.

Cassandra Germsheid is the owner of Baby Tips Online: She is a stay at home mother but sometimes works part time for her local newspaper.

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