Having a baby can be one of the most exciting experiences in a person’s life. Social media is filled with pictures of happy parents with their beautiful new babies.
What you don’t see are the other feelings that are not talked about and harder to understand – feelings like sadness, having trouble bonding with your baby, experiencing intrusive thoughts or panic attacks. Having feelings like these can often make you think that there’s something wrong with you.
However, you are not alone. For many new parents, these feeling are very real and may be a sign of postpartum depression or anxiety. Postpartum depression or anxiety occurs in one out of seven women.
What are the baby blues?
There is a difference between postpartum depression and what is commonly considered the “baby blues.” The baby blues affects 60-80 percent of new moms. It occurs due to hormone fluctuations at the time of birth and sleep deprivation. This can last between two days to two weeks after giving birth.
Common symptoms of the baby blues are tearfulness and exhaustion. Yet, despite this, there’s still the overall feeling of happiness. If symptoms last longer, however, and you are not experiencing the overall happiness that comes with being a new parent, it may be postpartum depression and anxiety. And these feelings won’t go away with time.
Symptoms of postpartum depression
It’s important to recognize symptoms of postpartum depression to better understand what you might be experiencing.
Common symptoms include:
- Low Mood
- Low self-esteem
- Difficulty sleeping (not due to baby being awake)
Symptoms of postpartum anxiety
Postpartum anxiety can show up with different symptoms.
You may experience:
- Worry about yourself or the baby
- Difficulty sleeping and fatigue (not due to baby being awake)
- Intrusive thoughts
- Difficulty relaxing
- Poor concentration
Help is available
Symptoms of both postpartum depression or anxiety can occur anytime in the first year after giving birth. They do not necessarily start as soon as the baby is born. Both are treatable, but will not go away on their own with time. Going untreated may lead to relationship issues, poor bonding with your baby, decrease in self-esteem, and overall increase in depression and anxiety symptoms. While friends and family can be helpful social support so that you don’t fall into isolation, it’s also important to seek out a mental health counselor for professional support.
Your mental health counselor can also help you find online resources and parent support groups. Knowing that you’re not alone is a huge part of this battle. If you fit the criteria described above, please call PRO Medical Counseling Center. We will help you find the support you need to get through this tough time.
By Darla Telschow, MA, LMHC at the PRO Medical Counseling Center
Darla Telschow believes counseling should be collaborative process between client and therapist. She works with clients to set goals and ensure they are achievable. Darla uses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to help clients identify how their thoughts, feelings and behaviors are connected. She specializes in postpartum mood and anxiety disorders.