Being a new parent is stressful, and can be challenging both physically and mentally at the best of times. New moms often experience mood swings due to hormones and lack of sleep, feeling joyful one minute and depressed the next. These feelings are sometimes called the “baby blues”, and often got away after a few weeks. But what if a new mom is experiencing symptoms for longer she may have what is called Postpartum Depression (PPD).
Postpartum depression (PPD) is depression that starts during pregnancy or any time up to a year after the birth of a child. PPD presents itself similarly to regular depression. Depression affects a person’s mood, impacting how they think about themselves, others, and the world around them.
PPD has many of the same symptoms as regular depression. It can make a parent feel sad, worthless, hopeless, guilty, or anxious. It can cause them to lose interest in things they love, withdrawal from people, or have poor concentration. PPD can have some unique symptoms relating to the new baby though. New parents may find themselves not bonding or enjoying the baby. Women with PPD often report feeling like they’re a bad parent. In severe cases, people with PPD have thoughts of harming themselves or the baby.
New mothers that just gave birth most commonly feel postpartum depression. However, any new parent, both moms and dad, and adoptive parents can also feel it. PPD is caused by a number of different factors, including family history, biology, personality, life experience, sleep deprivation, hormones and more.
If any new parent is experiencing difficulty, discuss it with your OBGYN, general practitioner, or mental health professional. Doctors are better at recognizing the symptoms of PPD these days, but they still need patients to communicate with them. There are therapies, support groups, and medication that can help with PPD.
Remember, there is no such thing as a perfect parent so don’t feel like a failure. Contact us if you or someone you love is struggling with postpartum depression!
Since 2003, the Delray Center for Healing has provided exceptional psychiatric and therapeutic care for mental health, eating, and substance use disorders. To learn more about our philosophy and treatment approach, download our free e-book, “Psychiatry Redefined,” written by our founder and medical director, Raul J. Rodriguez, MD.