What is Postpartum Depression
Although you might have heard the term, you may not know exactly what postpartum depression is. It is a specific type of depression that can happen to women after childbirth.
It’s important to understand that many women experience “baby blues”. Your body and hormones are changing a lot after the birth of your child. Add to that all of the natural anxiety that arises in parenthood, plus the fact that you’re not sleeping normally, and of course you’re going to have moments of low mood.
However, the so-called “baby blues” are temporary. They are interspersed with positive feelings. In contrast, postpartum depression is depression. It is thick, heavy, and doesn’t go away. It starts sometime within the first year after the baby’s birth. Postpartum depression is characterized by:
- Sadness, hopelessness, feelings of despair, and/or crying a lot
- Lack of interest in activities and people including no interest in sex or food
- Feeling like you can’t bond with your baby
- Low self-esteem particularly as it relates to being a mother
- Inability to concentrate, focus, or remember things
- Feeling like you can’t get out of bed, take care of yourself, or meet your baby’s needs
Postpartum depression affects many women. It’s not because of anything that you did wrong. While it’s more likely among people with a history of depression, it can happen to any woman. Getting therapy after pregnancy can help.
In fact, we’re increasingly becoming aware that men can also experience a form of postpartum depression. It typically happens later after the child’s birth than a mother’s form does. Either way, it is a type of depression directly related to the stressors of having a new child.