After giving birth, mothers can experience a wide range of powerful emotions including, excitement, fear, joy, happiness, and anxiety. Unexpectedly, mothers can also begin to feel depressed too. Most new moms are familiar with the term “baby blues” after childbirth. The “baby blues” include, mood swings, crying spells, trouble sleeping, and feelings of anxiety. These can last up to two weeks postpartum. Some new moms will experience a more severe, long-lasting form of depression also known as postpartum depression.
Symptoms of Postpartum Depression
- Depressed mood or severe mood swings
- Excessive crying
- Difficulty bonding with your newborn
- Withdraw from family and friends
- Insomnia & sleep troubles
- Loss of appetite or increased appetite
- Fatigue or no energy
- Feelings of worthlessness, guilt, or shame
- Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
- Difficulty concentrating
- Reduced interest in activities you used to enjoy
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Recurrent thoughts of suicide or death
There are many factors that play into postpartum depression but no single cause. Physical and emotional issues may play a role in the onset of postpartum depression. After a mother gives birth changes in hormone levels in your body may lead to feelings of depression and leave you feeling fatigued. Sleep deprivation, feeling overwhelmed, feelings of unattractiveness, struggling with identity, and doubt may contribute to postpartum depression.
How therapy can help:
Treatment options can look different for everyone depending on severity, individual needs, or other underlying factors such as hormone levels or illness. As always, it is important to consult with your physician who may then offer specific testing or a referral to a mental health professional.
Psychotherapy and treatment models such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can help you:
- Find healthy way to cope with feelings
- Set goals
- Identify unhelping thinking
- Identify support systems
- Help adjust your lifestyle to support you and your newborn
- Help you build positive and healthy responses
It is commons to have feelings of anxiety or some level of worry after giving birth. Sometimes these feelings of worry often get out of control and can feel like they are taking over your thoughts. Postpartum anxiety can also occur along with postpartum depression, but the conditions are different despite sharing many of the same symptoms.
Postpartum anxiety affects between 11% and 21% of individuals at birth.
Symptoms of Postpartum Anxiety
- Racing thoughts
- Trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, despite feeling exhausted
- Changes in heart rate/breathing
- Dread of a sense of danger
- Excessive worry about the baby’s health or safety
- Feeling jittery or agitated
- Loss of appetite
- Trouble sitting still
- Muscle Tension
- Difficulty focusing or forgetfulness
A change in hormone levels, lack of sleep, new overwhelming sense of responsibility, stress, and sometimes health conditions can put you at a higher risk for developing postpartum anxiety.
How therapy can help:
Similar to postpartum depression treatment, psychotherapy and techniques such as CBT can be helpful in reframing thoughts, building coping skills to deal with feelings of anxiety, and provide psychoeducation to help you learn about what you are currently experiencing.
It may feel like you are all alone, but you are not. Call or book an appointment with us for support alongside your new journey in motherhood and to help you overcome postpartum depression/anxiety.
Help is always one call or text away:
SUICIDE HOTLINE: 1-800-784-2433, A nationwide 24 hours/ 7 days a week service. To find a local number, see: http://suicidehotlines.com