Most parents envision the birth of their child as a joyous event, full of love and happiness. While it usually is, and tends to provide a memory worth holding on to for cherishing, it is also a time of heavy emotional toll and fluctuating hormones. Many, many women experience a period of temporary sadness and general moodiness for a few days following the end of a pregnancy. The “baby blues”--symptoms of which can also include lack of appetite, insomnia, and general anxiety--are utterly and completely normal for a woman to have, and generally fade shortly after the birth.
In more serious cases, feelings of intense sadness or depressed emotion can last for weeks at a time. These longer bouts of emotional turmoil are symptoms of a serious mood disorder known as “postpartum depression” (postpartum specifically meaning “after pregnancy”) and tend to affect one out of every seven or eight women. Although the “baby blues” are a short-lived mental and emotional reaction to the increased stress, decreased rest, and hormonal imbalances that accompany new parenthood, postpartum depression is a much longer lasting and severe disorder with which to deal.
Here are a few symptoms to look for in a person who may be experiencing postpartum depression:
● Prolonged, intense sadness or emotional fragility
● Bouts of extended crying
● An inability to bond with the baby
● Outbursts of rage, especially fits of anger toward the child
● Obsessive negative thoughts and feelings of worthlessness
● Violent thoughts, often times including thoughts of harming one’s self or child
● Having serious problems with sleeping (either too much or too little)
● Fluctuations in appetite
● Persistent feelings of intense fatigue and ennui
● Hopelessness or a recurring sense of inadequacy
Those are just a smattering of the major symptoms that come from postpartum depression. There are many others, all of them built out of a state of intense inner turmoil that is not particularly unique to each individual. Postpartum depression can affect practically anyone (yes, in fact, it has been found to occur in fathers as well).
There should never be a sense of shame associated with depression of any sort. Unfortunately, we humans are what we are, and thus people will all too often refuse to seek treatments out of some misguided and unnecessary feelings of embarrassment or guilt. The truth is, depression can affect anyone, and postpartum depression is a perfectly normal, treatable disorder. If you are a new parent and find that you have been experiencing emotional duress in the weeks since your child’s birth, you should contact a qualified doctor immediately and seek treatment. It will be healthier for you, healthier for your household, and generally better for your life overall.
The Woman’s Clinic, P.A. has been providing quality healthcare to the people of Tennessee for over six decades. Our mission is to be the clinic of choice for women by providing exceptional and compassionate care for each woman, with personalized attention tailored to all stages of her life. Our office is located at 244 Coatsland Drive in Jackson, TN. You can reach us by calling 731-422-4642 or via our website.