Postpartum Depression



What is it?
It is a psychological condition characterized by feelings of sadness, indifference, exhaustion and anxiety following the birth of one’s baby. The vast majority of women experience some type of mood disturbance [“baby blues”]. The symptoms, which are normal and transient, usually occur within the first week after the birth and may last for up to three weeks. They include irratibility, sadness, anxiety, poor concentration, prolonged crying. However, 10 to 15% of all women who have had a child experience a more disabling and persistent form of mood disturbance.

Is it just me?
Postpartum depression is no respector of age, race, or economic background. It does not spring from any character flaw or weakness in the woman afflicted, nor does it imply anything negative about the mother’s ability to be a good mother.
What causes postpartum depression?

More research needs to be done to determine the exact cause of postpartum depression; it probably is affected by certain chemical changes that take place in the woman’s body during and after the pregnancy.

What are the symptoms?:
feelings of sadness that just don’t go away;
changes in appetite: eating much more, or much less, than usual;
inability to sleep well, even when the baby is asleep;
irritability, anger, worry, agitation, anxiety;
inability to concentrate, or make decisions;
feelings of lethargy – lack of interest in friends, family, the baby;
uncontrollable crying;
feelings of guilt, worthlessness;
a strong, abiding tendency to drive away loved ones;
fear of harming the baby, or yourself.

What to do:
talk to your doctor, nurse practitioner or a trusted friend right away; eat balanced meals; let family and friends help you with housework or watching the kids; join a support group – it is tremendously empowering to know that you’re not alone; consider talking to a therapist.

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