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Postpartum Depression & Anxiety
Most women have heard the term “baby blues” before. This is a common experience that refers to a short period of adjustment, both hormonal and lifestyle, which women go through after having their child.
It’s easy to see why having a baby is a major life event. Not only does a woman’s body change and adjust, but she also experiences a radical change in priorities, increase in stress, less or disrupted sleep, and less time for her own self-care.
The media often focuses on a type of depression referred to as “Postpartum Depression” but fails to recognize that equally crippling conditions like postpartum anxiety or obsessive worry are common.
So what’s typical baby blues versus a depression or anxiety condition?
Typical thoughts (not depression or anxiety)?
- “Being a new mom is hard- will I be good at it?”
- “Hang in there little baby, I’ll get better at this.”
- “My baby is so small. Will I hurt her?”
Signs that you should talk to a professional about depression and anxiety? Common thoughts are:
- “Why did I do this? I don’t want to be a mother.”
- “My baby can tell I’m a bad mother. My baby deserves better.”
- “I can’t handle hearing my baby cry again.”
- “I’m just going through the motions. I feel depressed.”
- “I’ve ruined everything.”
- “I’m trapped. What have I done?”
- “What if I accidently kill my baby or I die?”
- “I feel disconnected from myself.”
- Trouble sleeping or wanting to sleep all of the time
- Diminished interest in regular activities you once enjoyed
- Loss of appetite or eating to make yourself feel better
- Difficulty bonding with your baby
- Wanting other people to parent your baby or hiding from others and avoiding people
- Racing thoughts and unable to relax
- Constantly checking for safety concerns like locking the doors, counting knives or re-washing bottles
If you feel like you are experiencing these symptoms, please, know that you are not alone. Postpartum mood and anxiety disorders are temporary and treatable with professional help. Too many women suffer in silence and are afraid to talk about their symptoms.
We want to provide you with several resources. Our thought is, if you know that you’re not alone, you’ll tell your physician or another professional about your concerns. If the person you tell minimizes what’s happening or you feel “hushed” make sure that the next person you talk with has experience with perinatal and postpartum mental health. Don’t be hushed. Silence is not an option.
Join a discussion group: Warrior Moms.
Smart Patients has partnered with Postpartum Progress to offer an online peer support group called the Smart Patients Warrior Mom community. It offers information and comfort to pregnant and new mothers suffering from perinatal mood and anxiety disorders like postpartum depression and anxiety.
Check out one or both of these sites dedicated to supporting women. Both have been recognized as topic sites for women suffering with depression and anxiety after the birth of a child.