“Women with peripartum major depressive episodes often have severe anxiety and even panic attacks during the peripartum period. Moreover, studies examining women pre-to-post-pregnancy demonstrate that those with anxiety or the “baby blues” during pregnancy are at increased risk for postpartum depression,” says John Grohol PsyD. Depression can manifest even before the mother gives birth.
The signs and symptoms of the condition are apparent that they’re not hard to miss.
How does one figure out if she is experiencing postpartum depression? According to research, about 20% of women who gave birth might show signs of having postpartum depression. Furthermore, PPD may not be immediately noticeable right after childbirth. Instead, it could manifest a year after the baby was born.
The statistics technically means that as a woman who is planning on getting pregnant, there is a chance that you might suffer from postpartum depression. On the other hand, if you just recently had a baby and are somehow curious if you are currently experiencing depression, there are specific indications that you might recognize.
Unraveling The Telltale Signs
“Different women react differently but normal baby blues are usually accompanied by moments of joy and wonder and happiness about the baby and motherhood. The emotions settle down after a couple of weeks and the routines and rhythms of new parenting get established,” says licensed marriage and family counselor Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D.
Though not all women will experience the same signs and symptoms, there is absolute consistency in the theme. While one mom can suffer from one or two symptoms, others will be overwhelmed by all of it. It is important to recognize that depression can take on many forms. Amongst others, here are some indicatory signs that you have PPD.
- Choices Terrify You
When faced with a dilemma, mothers who have PPD will be severely anxious, especially if the decisions are regarding their babies. They will feel frightened and stifled with the thought that any choice can turn out badly. Moms would also feel the need for constant reassurance just to ease their worries and make sure that they are doing fine.
Sleep Is Elusive
Even if the baby is fast asleep, a depressed mom will find it hard to acquire a decent snooze at night. In the beginning, it is normal to lose sleep since mothers are wired to look after their newborns that tend to have irregular sleeping habits. Moms who do not get adequate sleep at night will experience significant health issues and find it hard to focus on regular daily tasks.
- Despondency Does Not Go Away
Stress and exhaustion are normal in moderation; this is termed as “baby blues” and is prevalent during the first few weeks after childbirth. However, if the feeling of despair does not get relieved after a month or so, the sense of melancholia may have had evolved into depression.
- Thoughts Of Hurting You And Your Baby Has Come To Mind
This occurrence might be one of the most horrible feelings that a depressed mom could endure. Though these hurtful visions and thoughts(like dropping the newborn in the tub) will occasionally cloud the mom’s mind, acting upon them is less likely. However, these visions and thoughts might make the mother feel bad about herself and is ashamed that those horrid ideas ever came to mind.
- Disconnect From The Baby
Samantha Meltzer-Brody, MD, MPH said “They are able to function in their roles but have significant anxiety and mood symptoms that rob them of the joy of being a mother and interfere with their ability to develop good attachment and bonding with their infants.”
Moms who have this particular level of disconnect from their babies – who feel that the motherly attachment is absent – may be experiencing postpartum depression. Being disheartened by the sight of the baby is considered one of the most common signs of PPD. This may lead to an insufficient amount of love, care, and nourishment given to the baby.
Do not be remorseful if you ever felt one or more of these signs and symptoms. However, it is advised to seek immediate medical attention once you’ve recognized that you are dealing with these manifestations for the sake of you and your baby.