If you have had a baby anytime in the past 12 months, you have likely struggled with the physical and emotional recovery all while taking care of a helpless, yet lovable, newborn. The mental weight of being responsible for your little one, perhaps at times solely responsible, makes you feel stressed, overwhelmed, and terrible. You don’t feel like yourself anymore, and your moods are all over the place.
While for some women these feelings and thoughts will pass and they will return to their normal selves, for many of you the process is a bit more difficult. Because new moms tend to be more socially isolated, you may not know when it is time to reach out for help.
This is normal, right?
You might think what you are feeling is normal, or you’ve been told by your doctor, OB/GYN, partner, family, and even books that is normal to feel how you’re feeling right now, and that it will go away soon. But will it? Is it? You might be afraid of judgement from others, that you’re not a good mom, or that you can’t handle having a baby.
So, you wait, and hope that things will get better. Over time, you realize that things aren’t getting better, and are in fact getting worse. You know that your baby is depending on you to meet all of its needs, so you can’t reach out and get help, you need to feed the baby again, or clean you house, or do something else and you’ll feel better. But you still don’t.
If this is how you’re feeling and it lasts longer than a few weeks after you give birth, then it is time to reach out for some treatment for postpartum depression.
What is Postpartum Depression?
The powerful emotions you experience after having a baby include joy, excitement, anxiety, and maybe even fear. These are all normal reactions, but if they last longer than 2 weeks and are starting to impact your ability to take care of yourself or your baby, then it’s likely you are experiencing some postpartum depression or anxiety. Some of the symptoms that women who have postpartum depression experience after giving birth and up to the first year afterwards include:
Depressed mood or severe mood swings
Overwhelming fatigue and tiredness
Lowered ability to think clearly or make decisions
Severe anxiety and panic attacks
Intense irritability and anger
Loss of appetite or excessive eating
Inability to sleep, or sleeping too much
Feelings of worthlessness, shame or guilt
At times, you may have thoughts of wanting to harm yourself or your baby, or even thoughts of suicide or death. These thoughts should be taken seriously and if you have these, it is an indication that you need to reach out and get help. One in 7 women experience postpartum depression. That means that most likely, either yourself or a close friend or acquaintance that you know will have PPD after having a baby.
When to Get Help
If you are having any of these thoughts on a regular basis, for longer than 2 weeks postpartum, you should reach out to your OB/GYN, doctor, or a counselor who specializes in postpartum depression.
I feel like I’m going crazy
No one understands me, I feel so alone
I’m a horrible mother and should never have had a baby
I’m not ready for this, I can’t do this
I should be happy right now, but I’m so miserable I cannot even enjoy being with my baby
I feel trapped in a cage, and I can’t get out
I am worried that I might harm my baby
Postpartum depression is something that happens to you, not something that you are. If you are reluctant to reach out for help, tell your partner, a loved one, or a trusted friend so you’re not going through this alone. Even better, schedule an appointment with your doctor or OB/GYN and bring up how you are feeling, and ask for their recommendations for treatment. PPD can be treated effectively and is treated effectively every day. You don’t have to suffer in silence.
Looking for more helpful information?
We know that you are always searching for high-quality tips about emotional well-being and how to stay healthy and take care of yourself. Because an important aspect of staying healthy mentally starts with your own self-care, we want you to have a FREE copy of our Daily Self-Care Checklist so that you can start your journey towards your emotional health today:
How We Can Help
If you are interested in therapy for postpartum depression or if you would like to talk to someone more about how we can help you, follow these simple steps:
Contact us today for a free 20-minute phone consultation
Begin your journey towards a calmer, more relaxing life
Other Therapy Services Available at Catalyss Counseling:
Therapy for postpartum depression can meet many of your counseling needs. But, we know that is not all you might need. So, we want to meet all of your counseling needs in the Denver area. Our supportive therapists provide depression counseling, therapy for caregiver stress, grief and loss therapy, stress management counseling and more. We also have specialists in trauma and PTSD, women's issues, pregnancy and postpartum anxiety, pregnancy loss and miscarriage, and birth trauma. For therapists, we can also provide clinical supervision! We look forward to connecting with you to help support your journey today.
Shannon Heers is a psychotherapist, clinical supervisor, guest blogger, and owner of Catalyss Counseling in Englewood, CO. Shannon helps adults in professional careers manage anxiety, depression, work-life balance, and grief and loss. Follow Catalyss Counseling on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram.