Postpartum depression can exhibit different signs in different women. Almost 80% of mothers can experience what are called "baby blues" or postpartum blues, but this condition is mild and lasts only a few days or weeks after you have given birth.
If you are experiencing "baby blues," you may cry for long periods of time, without any apparent reason. You may also feel particularly anxious or sad.
However, postpartum depression is different. PPD is much more severe than baby blues, and needs treatment; if you do not get treatment and you are suffering from postpartum depression, it could be dangerous both to you and your baby.
If you are suffering from postpartum depression, you could actually be feeling "high," or you could experience extreme low moods. You can suffer from extreme feelings of helplessness or fatigue. Oftentimes, postpartum depression is treated with psychotherapy in antidepressants, and these treatments are very effective.
However, if you do not treat your PPD, you can go on to suffer from postpartum psychosis; this is a severe form of postpartum depression and will need immediate medical attention. Postpartum psychosis is extremely rare, but if you have it, you can hallucinate, feel extremely paranoid, and be delusional. You could risk harming yourself or your baby, and may even go on to commit suicide.
If you are a new mother and you experience any of the following symptoms, you should seek immediate help, especially if symptoms are persistent.
* Feeling extremely anxious
* Having extreme mood swings
* Having extended bouts of crying
* Having no ability to concentrate
* Being overly irritable or sad
* Feeling shame, guilt or inadequacy persistently
* Having memory problems
* Having difficulty bonding with your baby
* Withdrawing from friends and family
* Feeling overly angry, for no apparent reason
* Having trouble sleeping
* Having urges to harm yourself or your baby, and even thoughts of suicide
If you are feeling any of these symptoms yourself, or if you see them in a loved one, it is very important to seek mental attention immediately. There are indeed hormonal factors that can contribute to depression, and these are unique to women, especially pregnant women or new mothers, so it is very important to identify any stress triggers as well.
Among the causes of PPD may be that in addition to the hormonal swings, and after giving birth, extreme fatigue and the overwhelming responsibility a new baby brings can cause significant anxiety and stress.
Many new moms may feel the need to be the "perfect mom."
Some signs are indeed easy to see, but others may not be; for example, there may be a history of depression, birth-related difficulties, hormone swings caused by giving birth, financial problems, inadequate support from family or friends, immaturity (especially if the mother or parents of the new child are particularly young), or even drug and substance abuse.
These signs cannot be ignored and should be addressed immediately.
Some mothers may indeed show signs of having "baby blues" in the beginning, but they may persist and become more severe overtime.
If the new mother experiences urges whereby she wants to harm herself and/or her child, or if she loses interest in things that used to engage her, these are things that should be noticed either by the new mother in question or by friends and family.
Treatment for postpartum depression is necessary, and it should be started as quickly as possible. If you are just experiencing normal "baby blues," for example, you should get over this in a couple of weeks. If you continue to experience depression, however, consider the fact that you or the new mother you are observing may have postpartum depression, and seek treatment immediately.