What does postpartum depression feel like and what is it?
Did you just have a baby and now, you're feeling emotions you couldn't explain? Instead of being happy about your little bundle of joy, you're suddenly feeling low and depressed.
Do you lose interest in all the things that used to make you happy? Are you overwhelmed with negative emotions and physical exhaustion? Is your mood taking a toll on your everyday functioning?
Do you experience elevated anxiety, fear, guilt, shame, and other emotions you couldn't get rid of? If yes, you may be experiencing postpartum depression.
What you should know about postpartum depression?
Postpartum depression is a serious mental health condition that affects both women and men after the birth of a baby. It's estimated that between 7 percent and 20 percent of new mothers experience postpartum depression. Postpartum depression in fathers has also been observed, although less frequently studied than in mothers. Postpartum depression causes changes in the structure and function of the brain, which may persist long after symptoms resolve.
What are the signs and symptoms of postpartum depression?
Loss of interest in activities
Guilt and shame
Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
Feeling overwhelmed or out of control
Irritability (feeling angry)
Change in appetite
Lack of interest in normal activities
What is the cause?
Postpartum depression can be caused by a number of factors, including:
A change in hormone levels. During pregnancy, estrogen and progesterone increase during the latter part of your pregnancy and remain at high levels for about two weeks after delivery. These hormones help promote relaxation as well as energy and sleep cycles that are appropriate for breastfeeding. When you stop breastfeeding, your body will return to its pre-pregnancy levels of hormones (and possibly begin to menstruate again). If you feel sad or depressed when this happens, you may be experiencing postpartum depression.
Stress is one of the most common causes of psychological disorders like postpartum depression because it affects how we cope with our environment and life events. If you're under a lot of stress right now—for example, if someone close to you has died recently or if there's an illness spreading through your family—it can take its toll on your mental health over time as well as cause physical symptoms such as panic attacks or headaches that make it difficult for women who are already struggling from this condition
How is it diagnosed?
You can also take the PHQ-9 questionnaire at www.phqscreeners.com to help determine whether or not you are experiencing symptoms of depression. If you are concerned that you may be suffering from postpartum depression, it is always best to speak with a doctor or mental health professional.
If your doctor diagnoses you with postpartum depression, they will likely prescribe medication such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). These medications aim to increase serotonin levels in your brain by preventing its reabsorption after it has been released by nerve cells during neural communication between them. The increased levels of serotonin help relieve some of the symptoms associated with this disorder such as anxiety and sadness.
What happens if left untreated?
If it has been more than three weeks since your baby was born and symptoms continue to bother you, see your family doctor to talk about what is going on. Family doctors are trained to recognize depression and help patients find the right treatment for their condition.
When to seek help
If you're feeling depressed, it's important to know that you're not alone.
One in eight women experience postpartum depression (PPD), which means that your symptoms are likely more common than you think. If you suspect that you have PPD—or if you're concerned about a friend or family member who does—there are ways to seek help and get better. Here are some tips for what to do:
Talk with your partner or close friends about how you feel
Stay physically active by taking walks or doing other activities like yoga and Pilates
Consider seeing a counselor. If you don't feel comfortable talking to someone in person, there are also online options available, like Postpartum Progress' community forums
Postpartum depression is common
and it is treatable.
What is Postpartum Depression and Maternal Health Therapy?
Parents experiencing postpartum depression are often initially advised to seek out psychological therapy. The aim of therapy is to find solutions to practical problems, change negative patterns of thought and behavior, and assess your relationships in terms of how they contribute to your depression. Some treatment processes that aim in doing so include, but are not limited to:
Cognitive behavior therapy
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
Group therapy and group support
We're Here to Help You
The first step in getting treatment is realizing you need it. When a mother suffers from postpartum depression, it is not because she is a horrible parent, has done something wrong, or is about to lose her child. If you decide to get assistance, you will be making the greatest choice for yourself and your baby.
Keep in mind that you are not to blame for your postpartum depression. It is always the right time to seek assistance.
Here at Blue Oaks Counseling Services, we can assist you to understand how to control your own thinking, help you keep strong control over your emotions, enhance your level of confidence, and teach you skills to help you cope and deal with depression.
What You Can Expect from Our PPD and Maternal Therapy Service
Here at Blue Oaks Counseling Services, we understand that every parent experiences PPD differently, that’s why we work closely with you to understand your patterns.
By opening up about your experiences, emotions, thoughts, and ideas, together we can gain insight into the factors that have shaped your current way of thinking and acting.
When we have this awareness and wisdom about your reality, then we have the resources to create a tailored program that will provide you with the skills you need to solve practical problems in your daily life, unconditional support and encouragement, and a pathway towards a positive change.
You Don't Have to Go Through it Alone. Let's Work Together!
One of the best things you can do for yourself, your baby, and your family is to seek counseling for postpartum depression. You are never alone! Connect with us now and let our professional therapists guide you towards a healthier perspective and enhanced well-being so you can enjoy your parental life.