In some cases, bringing home your brand new baby doesn't bring happy thoughts like the ones 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 occur in up to 16% of new moms, but this number may actually be higher due to the amount of untreated depression.
Don't confuse 'baby blues' with postpartum depression. Baby blues typically last from a few days to a week right after childbirth. This is very common and does not need treatment. An easy 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 the same 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.
- sad, irritable, angry, frustrated
- feeling like you are a terrible mother
- guilt, not feeling worthy
- trouble sleeping, always exhausted
- thinking there is no light at the end of the tunnel
- an extreme change in weight, or loss of appetite
- you can't concentrate or remember things
- constantly worrying about things
- you burst out crying for no apparent reason
- do not want to talk or be with friends and family
- your baby does not make you feel happy
- blaming your baby for your feelings
- wanting to hurt yourself or your baby
Suffering from postpartum depression can be life changing. But you need to realize that it is not your fault. You aren't alone in this. Brooke Shields had postpartum depression, and she has written a very good book about it.
Things will get better. And until they do, there are many different support systems - friends, family, doctors and nurses, peer groups, counsellors, and hotlines.
Postpartum depression can be mild, moderate, or severe - so talk to your doctor to determine what type of treatment is best for you.
Cassandra Germsheid is the owner of Baby Tips Online (http://www.babytipsonline.com). She is a stay at home mother but sometimes works part time for her local newspaper.