Anne M. Waller, LCSW-C
Is this Postpartum Depression?
It is very normal to feel overwhelmed, anxious, and emotional after delivering a baby. This normal experience, called "Baby Blues" lasts about 2-3 weeks postpartum and occurs in about 80% of new mothers. Baby Blues is not an illness and should resolve on its own. But if your symptoms last longer than 2-3 weeks, it is possible that you are experiencing Postpartum Depression or another sort of mood disorder. You are the best judge of whether or not something just isn't right.
Postpartum Depression is actually a syndrome, or a cluster of symptoms which has no single known cause. There is no blood test or definitive way to confirm the diagnosis. Because of this, many cases of PPD go undiagnosed. Women struggling with PPD often blame themselves for not handling this life transition well and are ashamed to ask for help. Think of the messages given to all of us by the media and our popular culture about how wonderful the postpartum period is supposed to be. This only reinforces the shame in admitting: "I feel BAD!" Loved ones may not realize that there is a problem until the depression has become severe. If you are wondering whether you may be suffering from PPD, remember:
- This is a REAL illness: it affects approximately 1 in 5 new mothers.
- This isn't your fault! You didn't do anything to bring this on.
- Don't let your shame or fears keep you from helping yourself.
-This does not mean that you don't love your baby.
- Postpartum Depression is very treatable! The faster you get help, the better the prognosis for a faster recovery.
If you have been experiencing 4 or more of the symptoms listed below, you should consider calling a professional therapist or medical doctor. You are not alone, and the faster you get help, the faster you'll be feeling like yourself again. This is treatable!
- Crying daily
- Feeling sad most or all the time
- Can't concentrate
- Loss of enjoyment in previously pleasurable activities
- Can't sleep even when baby is sleeping (or sleeping too much)
- Feel like a failure
- No energy
- Can't enjoy food or crave carbs
- The future feels hopeless
- Can't shake depressed feeling
- Irritability, Anger, or Rage
- Worrying much of the time
- Feeling overwhelmed or anxious
- Loss of sex drive
- Guilty Feelings
- Feelings of worthlessness
FREE POSTPARTUM SUPPORT GROUP
Mondays 10-11:30 am
Montgomery General Hospital in Olney, MD
Call 301-774-8881 , press 3
Support Group for Postpartum Moms who are feeling the stress of this demanding stage of life. Come join our weekly group led by Anne Waller, LCSW-C and Gina Keefe, APRN-PMH.