How do I know if I have postpartum depression?

It is often normal to feel a little overwhelmed and even anxious after giving birth. After all, you now have an entirely new person to take care of and your life has been completely altered.

Women may experience crying spells, constant sadness, mood swings, loss of appetite, or irritability, feelings and behaviors that are usually called “the baby blues.”

However, “the baby blues” persists for a much shorter period than postpartum depression, a mental disorder that usually persists for longer than three weeks. Those with postpartum depression usually feel feelings of hopelessness, irritability, having trouble sleeping, feeling unworthy of being a mother, or grief about who they were before being a mother.

It is important to speak to a licensed mental health professional to diagnose postpartum depression and to seek the best form of treatment.

Why does postpartum depression occur?

Researchers are still attempting to find the main cause of postpartum depression, but medical professionals believe it has to do with the dramatic hormone changes women experience directly after giving birth. While pregnant, women’s estrogen and progesterone levels are extremely high, then drop down to normal the first 24 hours after giving birth. This extreme fluctuation is thought to be linked to the postpartum depression that women can sometimes fall into.

What is postpartum therapy?

Postpartum therapy can consist of multiple sessions of talk therapy with me to identify and address feelings and set goals to take control of situations in that person’s life. Sometimes we may bring in the patient’s family members to sessions if it will help the patient.

What are the risks of not getting postpartum therapy?

 If you are experiencing postpartum depression symptoms for more than three weeks, it is beneficial to seek treatment. Individuals have been able to successfully heal their depression on their own, but seeking postpartum counseling results in less trial and error and for you to receive expert advice and an actionable plan from a licensed professional.

If postpartum persists without treatment, there is a risk of it getting worse, which results in the parent not being able to provide the best care for their newborn as possible.

If you are ready to take control of your life with your new family, or if you still have questions about postpartum counseling, I encourage you to call (847)274-8423 to schedule an appointment.