Postpartum Depression Signs

Village BirthUncategorizedPostpartum Depression Signs

Postpartum Depression Signs

Inherent to the immediate postpartum time is struggle. Physical healing, lack of sleep, the learning curve of newborn care, and the drop in hormones associated with birth and breastfeeding are just a few components that contribute to the struggle. More than 50% of women experience the “baby blues” in the form of irritability, anxiety, crying and difficulty sleeping. This phase is usually short-lived at 1-2 weeks after birth as hormones level out.

Some people however experience a prolonged bout of depression in the postpartum time and it’s important to look out for signs to avoid suffering. Somewhere between 10% and 20% of postpartum moms experience postpartum depression.

Whether you are the partner, a family member, or the postpartum parent, here are some common postpartum depression signs to look out for.

Postpartum Depression Signs

  • Excessive crying
  • Severe mood swings
  • Feeling disconnected or not bonding with baby
  • Sleeping difficulties (insomnia or sleeping too much)
  • Feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, shame, guilt or inadequacy
  • Thoughts of harming yourself or baby
  • Overwhelming fear or anxiety about baby’s safety

Important to note that these are particularly important if happening past the 2-week mark after the birth, within the first year of baby’s birth.

What to Do

If the symptoms above continue or worsen beyond 2 weeks postpartum, here are some action steps.

  • Tell your partner or inner circle.
  • If you are the partner assessing the situation, express concern and encourage treatment.
  • Call your OB or primary care doctor who can recommend treatment which may include medication and/or a referral to a psychiatrist.
  • Call a therapist specializing in postpartum depression.
  • Join a support group.
  • Reach out to friends for support. This is so common and you will find people within your community who can share their experiences, encourage, and normalize.

Postpartum depression is merely a symptom of giving birth and not a reflection of your values or worth as a parent. Do not suffer in silence. The sooner it’s addressed, the sooner it can be managed and healed, so you can enjoy this time with your growing family.

What if it’s Not Postpartum Depression

Sometimes the transition into parenthood is just hard. It’s hard for the average person. You may be dealing with symptoms of decision fatigue, actual fatigue, overwhelm, anxiety, and hormone fluctuations, which are all normal when you haven’t slept longer than three hour stretches.

If you are the partner reading this now, we recommend tapping into empathy. Listen, validate her feelings, and work as team to ensure that you are both getting breaks and managing expectations of each other. This might be the time to invest in some help in the home or time to call in support from your loved ones to ensure that the mental and physical well-being of the mother is prioritized.

If you are the mother experiencing some grueling symptoms of postpartum or newborn care, ask for help from your partner, your family, and your community. Get support in making sure you can rest, consume a diet that supports your hormones, breastfeeding, and healing, and find a therapist or support group. Giving yourself the opportunities to take a break and/or connect when appropriate will allow you to show up as a steady and centered parent.

If you want to better prepare for this time, we have a Preparing for Fourth Trimester Class led by a postpartum doula and newborn care specialist. This will help prepare your home and life for the immediate postpartum time.

At Village Birth, we offer a safe space for honest conversation, retreat, and honoring the transition into parenthood. Therapist Dana Nassau is available for individual sessions and a support group specifically for mom experiencing postpartum depression or struggling.

Village Birth offers doula services, childbirth classes, newborn care classes, lactation and pregnancy support for Los Angeles. Our space is in Sparrow’s Nest in Pasadena (bordering Eagle Rock) where we hold classes, support groups, workshops, and meetups.  Interested in learning more about the birth process and options available in your birth setting? Check out Village Birth’s prenatal classes.