Postpartum depression doesn't always look like the stereotype or the advertisements for antidepressants. There may not be tears, lying in bed sadly, or even quiet withdrawal. It's important to move beyond the stereotypes and know all the signs of postpartum depression so that you can quickly recognize it and get the treatment you need.
Symptom: Dietary changes
Some dietary changes are normal after giving birth. Loss of appetite lasting more than a day or two is not one of them, though. Most women quickly regain their appetites and return to their normal eating habits. Of course, loss of appetite isn't the only symptom. In some cases, sufferers of depression may instead have an increased appetite. This can be harder to recognize, though, especially if you are breastfeeding and have an increased caloric need.
While feelings of sadness can be one aspect of postpartum depression, anger and annoyance are also common. Little things may annoy you or you may feel like you can't control your temper. When anger is a side effect of your depression, it's important to get help right away.
Symptom: Bonding issues
While some mother's bond with their baby right away, it can take longer if you are suffering from postpartum depression. You may not feel a connection with your child, which can make the depression worse as you then feel guilty. This is a result of the numbness that comes with depression, which can be treated.
Symptom: Intrusive thoughts
Intrusive thoughts can be the most terrifying aspect of postpartum depression. These thoughts are often scary. You may have thoughts of violence or even of doing awful things you know you would never consider. These in turn make you feel guilt or even fear of what you may do. Know that these thoughts do not mean you are a bad person, they simply mean that you need help.
Symptom: Sleep issues
Most new parents are sleep deprived, but having a total inability to sleep – insomnia – isn't a normal side effect of new parenthood. The opposite, sleeping all the time, also isn't usually normal. Sleep issues need to be addressed. Often sleep issues are accompanied by a brain fog, which means you feel separate from the people and events around you, as well as you have problems focusing or remembering simple things.
Talk to a mental health provider as soon as possible if you suspect that you may be suffering from postpartum depression.
As a lifetime sufferer of depression, I have spent a great deal of time in therapy. One thing that I learned early on was the importance of having a good attitude and trying to figure out how to cope with some of the suggestions that my counselors gave me. I realized that when it came to having a good experience, the bulk of the responsibility fell in my lap. I started working hard to take their suggestions in stride and carefully analyze my life and my behavior. This blog is all about improving the counseling process by having a better attitude.