Are you worried that you (or a loved one) may have postpartum depression?
Before you research any further, please read (and digest) the following 3 points.
- You are definitely not alone. Nearly 20 mothers out of every 100, will experience some form of postpartum problem. PPD also affects mothers who adopt babies, moms who lose babies as well as partners and fathers. So you are not alone. Please don’t isolate yourself or feel too ashamed to speak up and reach out.
- This is not your fault.You did not cause this to happen and you do not need to feel guilty about it.This is a real illness and blaming yourself will only make you feel worse and prolong your recovery. So please don’t beat yourself up.
- You will get well. Yes! It is treatable with the right help. So please feel proud of yourself for taking the time to research this. Know that a diagnosis is the first step in treating any kind of perinatal mood disorder. And that finding an expert who is trained in this field and has specialized in it and has experience with it, is essential. IDEALLY treatment will include face-to-face counseling or psychotherapy, medication from a psychiatrist, and a support group of other moms who are dealing with this too.
Take this Quiz: Click here to the Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Screening Scale.
GET THE FACTS — More on Perinatal disorders
(Postpartum Support International’s (PSI) website).
- Are you feeling sad or depressed?
- Do you feel more irritable or angry with those around you?
- Are you having difficulty bonding with your baby?
- Do you feel anxious or panicky?
- Are you having problems with eating or sleeping?
- Are you having upsetting thoughts that you can’t get out
of your mind?
- Do you feel as if you are “out of control” or “going crazy”?
- Do you feel like you never should have become a mother?
- Are you worried that you might hurt your baby or yourself?
Any of these symptoms, and many more, could indicate that you have a form of perinatal mood or anxiety disorder, such as postpartum depression. While many women experience some mild mood changes during or after the birth of a child, 15 to 20% of women experience more significant symptoms of depression or anxiety. Please know that with informed care you can prevent a worsening of these symptoms and can fully recover. There is no reason to continue to suffer.
Women of every culture, age, income level and race can develop perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. Symptoms can appear any time during pregnancy and the first 12 months after childbirth. There are effective and well-researched treatment options to help you recover. Although the term “postpartum depression” is most often used, there are actually several forms of illness that women may experience, including:
Pregnancy (antepartum) or Postpartum Depression — A woman with PPD might experience feelings of anger, sadness, irritability, guilt, lack of interest in the baby, changes in eating and sleeping habits, trouble concentrating, thoughts of hopelessness and sometimes even thoughts of harming the baby or herself. Learn moreabout PPD, including risk factors, symptoms and treatment options.
Pregnancy (antepartum) or Postpartum Anxiety — A woman with PPA may experience extreme worries and fears, often over the health and safety of the baby. Some women have panic attacks and might feel shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, a feeling of losing control, and numbness and tingling. Learn more about PPA, including risk factors, symptoms and treatment options.
Pregnancy or Postpartum Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder — Women with PPOCD can have repetitive, upsetting and unwanted thoughts or mental images (obsessions), and sometimes they need to do certain things over and over (compulsions) to reduce the anxiety caused by those thoughts. These moms find these thoughts very scary and unusual and are very unlikely to ever act on them. Learn moreabout PPOCD, including risk factors, symptoms and treatment options.
Postpartum Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder — PPTSD is often caused by a traumatic or frightening childbirth, and symptoms may include flashbacks of the trauma with feelings of anxiety and the need to avoid things related to that event. Learn more about PPTSD, including risk factors, symptoms and treatment options.
Postpartum Psychosis — PPP sufferers sometimes see and hear voices or images that others can’t, called hallucinations. They may believe things that aren’t true and distrust those around them. They may also have periods of confusion and memory loss, and seem manic. This severe condition is dangerous so it is important to seek help immediately. Learn more about PPP, including risk factors, symptoms and treatment options.”