What is Postpartum Depression?
It can be physically and emotionally challenging when you bring a new baby into your family. Sadness, stress, anxiety, mood swings, loneliness, tiredness, and weepiness (otherwise known as the “baby blues”) are common in women following the birth of a child. Baby blues typically goes away soon after birth all on its own. But sometimes you may experience more serious mental health challenges following the birth of your child; challenges that do not go away in the days, weeks or months after delivering a baby.
Postpartum depression (PPD) is depression that may start during pregnancy or at any time up to a year after the birth of a child. Depression is a mental illness that affects a person’s mood; the way someone feels about themselves, how they relate to others, and how they interact with the world around them. PPD affects a woman’s daily functioning, making it hard to take care of herself or her new baby.
PPD affects both women and men; although it is more commonly reported in women who are also new mothers. However, PPD affects people from many different walks of life, regardless of the ease or difficulty of the pregnancy, whether they are a first-time parent or have other children, whether they are married or not, and regardless of socioeconomic status, education, and cultural background.
The symptoms of PPD are quite similar to those of depression, and include:
- Pervasive sadness
- Feelings of worthlessness
- Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities
- Social isolation
- Difficulty concentrating and remembering
- Changes in sleeping and eating patterns
However, with PPD, you may also experience disinterest in your baby, fear of not being a good parent, and fear of being left alone with your baby. In severe cases, parents may have thoughts of harming themselves or their child, and should seek immediate help.
Like depression, PPD does not go away on its own. It is, however, treatable with the right treatment. With the help of a trained mental health professional at Pathways Counselling, you can get back to enjoying your new baby, build confidence in yourself as a new parent, and regain quality of life.