Do I have Postpartum Depression?

postpartum depressionAre you a new mother who is feeling sad and distressed? Are you worrying if it’s “normal” to feel this way? Here are some questions to determine if you are experiencing baby blues or Postpartum Depression:

Common Characteristics of Postpartum Depression and the Baby Blues

  • Are you currently pregnant or have given birth recently?
  • Have you noticed any changes in your mood? Do you feel sad, cry more than usual, or are you easily irritated?
  • How long have you been feeling this way?
  • Has is been over two weeks since you gave birth?

Every new mom will go through their own emotional journey even though their symptoms may be similar. The baby blues affect 60-80% of new moms according to Postpartum Support International.

Common symptoms include: Crying, feeling overwhelmed and uncertain with motherhood, or feeling fatigue from the lack of sleep. Changes in hormones may make these symptoms worse. And your symptoms may last two days to two weeks.

So Which Is It?

What differentiates the baby blues from Postpartum Depression is the severity of symptoms, when they occur, and how long they last. If you continue to feel sad, can’t stop crying, or you feel more irritable than usual, it may be time to speak with your doctor and seek help from a therapist who specializes in working with new mothers.

Important Things to Consider

You are not alone

Many women develop symptoms of depression during their pregnancy and never realize that they slowly have been covered by a dark cloud. You may feel better connecting with other women who feel the same way you do. Therefore, it might help to reach out to a support group.

It is OK to Feel the Way You Feel

You may feel you have lost your own identity and can no longer focus on your own needs. Sometimes you may feel guilty or selfish for thinking this way. Or you may doubt you are capable of taking on this new role as a mom. It’s important to remind yourself that wantting to meet your own needs does not diminish the love you have for your children.

You can get help

Talk to your doctor. Be honest and express how you really feel. Sometimes you may
require medication in addition to talk therapy. What’s most important, is that postpartum
depression is treatable if you seek help. Only you can change the narrative of your
story. Simply remind yourself that there will always be sunshine after the clouds move
out of the way.

Aisha Brady, LMSW, PMH, is a Perinatal Mental Health Specialist at Marietta West Cobb Counseling Center. To schedule an appointment with her, contact our office.