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  • Writer's pictureAnna Yam, Ph.D.

What Is Postpartum Depression?

Updated: Feb 15, 2020

woman holding baby looking depressed

Postpartum depression is finally receiving the recognition and attention it warrants. Moms, dads, and society at large is acknowledging that giving birth to a baby is a massive life change. The truth is, for many of us this massive life change comes with a side of debilitating symptoms that interfere with our ability to adjust.

If you are having a hard time adjusting to parenthood, you are not alone. If you are wondering whether you might be experiencing postpartum depression, keep reading.

What is postpartum depression?

Postpartum depression is a group of symptoms (or signs) that indicate when a mom (or dad) is suffering too much. These symptoms are bothersome and cause us to wonder, “Is this normal?” They also get in the way of our ability to function in daily life.

What are the symptoms of postpartum depression?

Some hallmark symptoms used to identify postpartum depression include:

  • Feeling overwhelmed by being a parent

  • Irritation, anger, and even rage toward the baby or others around you

  • Feeling sad, having difficulty enjoying anything

  • Feeling guilty about how you’re feeling, how you’re acting, how you’re parenting

  • Crying more than usual, sometimes for no apparent reason

  • Having regretful thoughts about becoming a parent

  • Feeling disconnected from the baby

  • Feeling numb and detached

  • Unable to eat or eating way too much

  • Restless at night and difficulty sleeping when your baby is sleeping

  • Forgetful, unable to concentrate, unable to think clearly

  • Thoughts about hurting yourself or the baby

Postpartum depression is NOT the “baby blues” which is a temporary period of emotional ups and downs that ends around two weeks postpartum.

How to know if I have postpartum depression?

The key is to ask yourself:

How often have I been feeling this way?

For how long have I been feeling this way? Days? Weeks? Months?

Do these feelings get in the way of my ability to function in daily life?

Are these feelings making it harder to enjoy parenthood?

Are these feelings interfering with my family relationships?

If you suspect that you might have postpartum depression, it is never too early to find out for sure. The vast majority of parents with postpartum depression suffer too long before seeking help.

Yes, parenthood is hard (very hard at times) but without the burden of postpartum depression it can be much, much better and more fulfilling.

At Bloom Psychology, Dr. Yam specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of postpartum depression as well as other peripartum mood and anxiety disorders. With proper treatment, most parents with postpartum depression get better. To learn more and schedule a visit, start here.

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