What Postpartum Depression Can Feel Like
It’s a few days after you’ve given birth, the celebratory phone calls are still coming in all you feel is sadness all the way down to your gut. Although the emotions are unexpected and less than welcome, postpartum depression can be common among new mothers. Up to one in seven women experience PPD after their first child even though it might be the first episode of depression they’ve experienced in their life.
It’s important to remember how much the body changes during pregnancy and immediately after. Postpartum, a hormone imbalance can occur due to losing built up levels of progesterone right after birth, leaving high levels of estrogen and the mental and physical symptoms that accompany the imbalance. Previous experiences or diagnosis’ of depression can also be a risk factor that can lead to new episodes surfacing.
Aside from the physical risk factors of PPD forming, one of the biggest factors is that mothers are overwhelmed by the new challenges of motherhood and having to be physically responsible for a new life. PPD challenges can increase with breastfeeding difficulties and by having a demanding baby. Challenges like these can make you feel as if you’re not connecting with your child and exacerbate symptoms.
For many, the emotions vary from anxiety to depression, anger and resentment towards the child and family. You might fear the idea of not being a good enough mother for your child or might feel that your newborn is taking your time away from other people that you should be spending time with.
Symptoms can start a few days after birth, and last days, weeks, or longer depending on how long it goes untreated. As with other things like PPD, symptoms vary and can be highly unique to you. PPD is treatable with individual counseling, therapy, and medication, like other forms of depression. Medication usually involves anti-depressants which can take a few weeks to become effective in regulating mood.
Many women find strength in connecting with other mothers who also share their experiences. Finding others who have also experienced PPD can help shrink feelings of isolation and bring a degree of normalcy back to your life. Postpartum Support International (PSI) is an organization that provides lots of information about emotional changes parents experience during pregnancy and postpartum. These resources include PSI online support groups and local support groups for PPD or other circumstances where parents may benefit from peer support.
If you or your partner is struggling with PPD, please contact us today as therapy can be immensely helpful. Remember that experiences of PPD can be very unique and it’s important to address how you’re feeling with a professional, even if you think they might not understand.
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