With postpartum depression and baby blues affecting up to 80% of mothers, how is there an overabundance of shame and lack of resources for new moms?
All moms experience the 4th trimester differently, but the weeks following the birth of your baby are some of the happiest, scariest, and hardest weeks in your life. Hormonal changes, physical changes, and lifestyle changes take a toll on your mental health. And while postpartum depression doesn’t feel the same for everyone, it is very common and treatable.
The “baby blues” are often considered temporary feelings for new moms. Feeling anxious, tired, or sad is very normal and those negative feelings might fade away on their own after a week or two. When these feels do not dissipate, it’s time to talk with your doctor about postpartum depression and treatment.
There’s a pressure to enjoy and be present during your baby’s newborn days, but many good-intentioned people forget how tough those days are when they offer that advice. Bonding with your baby and feeling any sense of peace might feel impossible. Taking care of yourself and seeking help for your mental health is the most important thing you can do for your baby and your experience as a mother.
Symptoms of PPD include:
- Feeling angry
- Crying more often
- Feeling distant from your baby or withdrawing from loved ones
- Feeling overly anxious
- Having thoughts of harming the baby or yourself
One in eight women experience PPD, but there are some factors that might make you more at risk for pregnancy depression and post-birth depression.
- A history (or family history) of anxiety and depression
- A difficult pregnancy or unplanned pregnancy
- Financial difficulties
- A troubled relationship with your partner
- Giving birth to multiples
- Receiving little or no support from partner, family, or friends during and after pregnancy
It’s important for your health and the health and wellbeing of your baby to get help. Talk to your doctor about medication and therapy. Be honest and open with your healthcare provider and spouse/support system. If you have any feels of suicide, self-harm, or violence toward your baby, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1(800)273-8255.
The SCCAA Community Actions Pathway HUB is an available resource for pregnant and new mothers in need of support, education, and community services.