Understanding My Postpartum Depression

3.8 min read|754 words|Categories: Mental Health|
Young mother playing with her child on the couch

New moms face so many challenges. You’re likely dealing with less sleep and more stress, while you learn everything from breastfeeding to the specifics of effective diaper-changing. All of these changes don’t begin to cover the new responsibilities and expectations that come with being a mom. And perhaps more importantly, these challenges don’t begin to cover the emotional toll that pregnancy can have on mothers.

Whether this is your first child or your fifth, mothers deal with physical and emotional pressure. The “perfect mother” simply doesn’t exist, but that doesn’t stop many new mothers from feeling as though they’ve fallen short of the non-existent stereotype. If you’re experiencing recurring emotional pain that began after childbirth and hasn’t let up in the weeks that have followed, you could very well be experiencing postpartum depression.

Postpartum depression – depression experienced by mothers after childbirth – is typically caused by a variety of factors. These include normal hormonal shifts that occur in a mother’s body after she gives birth, as well as general tiredness and lack of sleep, and the mental adjustment that must take place as motherhood becomes the norm. Postpartum depression is perhaps more common that you might imagine; one study indicates that as many as 1 in 7 moms experience some form of postpartum depression after giving birth.

From signs to symptoms to effective treatment techniques, we’ve outlined everything you might need to know about postpartum depression below.

Recognizing symptoms of postpartum depression

Postpartum depression can affect mothers of all demographics, even if you didn’t experience it during the birth of previous children. You can experience the onset of postpartum depression during any point over the first year after giving birth, though most commonly you’ll start to see postpartum depression set in within the first 3 weeks after childbirth.

Here are some of the signs and symptoms most commonly associated with postpartum depression:

  • You feel exhausted, but you can’t fall asleep
  • Your actions feel out of control
  • You have trouble making simple decisions
  • You feel like you need to escape the situation
  • You experience mood swings without your control
  • You can’t figure out why you feel upset or anxious
  • You feel like you have to keep your thoughts and feelings a secret, because you’re worried people will see you as a bad mother
  • You’ve lost interest in activities you once enjoyed

If you’ve experienced one of more of these symptoms, you might be experiencing the effects of postpartum depression. Don’t feel bad about reaching out and seeking the help you know you need. At Pyramid Online Counseling, we offer treatment and recovery services that help you handle life’s challenges as they come.

Why am I experiencing postpartum depression?

There are several causes of postpartum depression. Typically, both physical and emotional factors play a role in symptom length and severity.

While causes of postpartum depression vary from one woman to another, they typically include:

  • Drops or natural fluctuations in hormones that follow childbirth
  • Family members with depression
  • Existing stress or anxiety issues
  • Existing marriage, financial or substance use issues

Am I at risk to develop postpartum depression?

Postpartum depression doesn’t play favorites; it can affect any new mom, even if they had no problems with past problems. However, certain moms could be susceptible to increased postpartum depression risk, given a number of factors. These pre-existing risk factors include:

  • Family history of depression, even if it’s not during pregnancy
  • Existing bipolar disorder
  • Postpartum depression experienced after a previous pregnancy
  • Family history of postpartum depression
  • Family history of depression, anxiety or other mood disorders
  • Infants with health problems
  • Multiple births: twins, triplets, etc.
  • Existing marital or relationship issues with your partner

What can I do about my postpartum depression?

Even if you don’t have a history of postpartum depression or mood disorders, you’re at risk of developing postpartum depression after you give birth. And even if your doctor monitored symptoms closely before, during and after pregnancy, and you participated in postpartum checkups, you can still develop postpartum depression.

If you’re looking to properly address postpartum depression, licensed healthcare professionals are a great option. Therapists can point you in the direction of valuable postpartum depression resources, and provide expertise in managing your symptoms. At Pyramid Online Counseling, you can choose the healthcare professional that best suits your individual needs, after browsing hundreds of profiles. Call (833) 525-3077 today, or fill out our abbreviated online counseling contact form, to learn more about Pyramid Online Counseling and take your first steps toward recovery from postpartum depression.

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