Could I have postpartum depression? If I do, how do I treat it? Part 2
If you read my last blog post, “Could I have postpartum depression? If I do, how do I treat it? Part 1”, referencing The New York Times article, “Postpartum depression can be dangerous. Here’s how to recognize it and seek treatment” by author Tara Haelle, you may be wondering about the additional symptoms of postpartum depression as well as the appropriate next steps to take if you do have it.
Below are the remaining key points from Haelle’s article touching on these topics.
- What are the symptoms of postpartum depression? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the major symptoms of postpartum depression include the following:
- Crying more frequently
- Feeling angry
- Withdrawing from your support system
- Feeling disconnected and numb from your baby
- Worrying that you will hurt your baby on purpose or by accident
- Doubting your capability to care for your baby
- Feeling guilty that you’re not a good enough mother.
- What increases the risks of postpartum depression? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also states the following experiences that puts mothers at a higher risk for postpartum depression:
- Having a baby who has been hospitalized
- Birth and pregnancy complications
- Going into labor before 37 weeks
- Being a teen mom
- Being a mom to twins/or multiples
- Difficulty getting pregnant
- A history of depression
- A history of depression in your family
- Challenging life events
- Limited social support
- There are others who can relate. If you feel like you may have postpartum depression or postpartum anxiety, it is imperative for you to know that you are not alone. Let me say that again. You are not alone! As previously mentioned, 10-20% of women have postpartum depression, so it is very common. Many times women imagine having their child to be a wonderful and happy experience and having postpartum depression thrown at them creates a disconnect between reality and prior expectations of their postpartum journey, which can create added anxiety and depression. Postpartum may be more of a hardship than a pleasant experience, and true bonding with your baby may not occur until they are six months old or so. It is okay. That does not make you a bad mother. What it simply means is that you likely need an added layer of support for your mental health such as seeking appropriate treatment.
- Contact a professional for treatment. If symptoms last for more than two weeks, or if the symptoms impair the women’s ability to care for herself or her family, this goes beyond “baby blues” and is time to seek help. Some symptoms of postpartum depression can be as severe as wanting to harm yourself or even your baby. If that is the case, one should go to the nearest emergency room. If that is not the case, it is likely time for one to contact either their gynecologist, primary care physician, or the pediatrician, as they can give one a referral for a therapist to help treat their postpartum depression. Dr. Snyder states that sometimes postpartum depression does not need therapy or medication, but when given both options, it can certainly expedite your recovery process. The risk of not seeking treatment for postpartum depression can have a long-lasting behavioral and neurodevelopmental risk to the women’s children.
- Social support. If you believe you have postpartum depression, now more than ever, is it important to reach out to your social support system. It could also be helpful to give additional responsibilities to your partner so that you can have more time to exercise, rest, reset, recharge, and time with your friends. It is also of course important to implement healthy eating and healthy sleeping patterns when experiencing postpartum depression. While postpartum depression can be very dangerous and scary, the positive thing about it is, if treated appropriately with a professional, you can recover from it!
If you are currently struggling with postpartum depression, it may be a good idea to connect with one of our skilled Chicago therapists at Symmetry Counseling today. You can contact us at 312-578-9990 to set up an appointment.
Written by Kara Thompson-Miller, Licensed Clinical Social Worker: January 2023 “Why is it so hard to like my body?”: A unassumingly complex question that has been asked by many clients in many different variations, but one that, nonetheless, tends…Read More
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