Looking Out for Postpartum Depression

Giving birth to a brand new life can give rise to all sorts of different feelings – joy, excitement, curiosity, apprehension. One thing that you don’t expect, however, is depression.

Postpartum depression is a mood disorder that affects as much as 1 in 9 mothers, and even up to 26% of fathers.

Just like any other mental illness, it needs to be destigmatized.

There is a common occurrence called the “baby blues” that begins within the first couple of days after delivery and may last up to two weeks. You may experience mood swings, crying spells, lose your appetite and have trouble sleeping.

This is entirely normal and most new moms experience it. No surprise – being a new mom is a lot to deal with! The problem occurs when it persists beyond the two-week mark and becomes a little more severe.

Symptoms of PPD include:

  • Depressed mood or severe mood swings
  • Excessive crying
  • Difficulty bonding with your baby
  • Withdrawing from your family and friends
  • Loss of appetite or eating more than usual
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia (sleeping too much)
  • Fatigue/loss of energy
  • Reduced interest or pleasure in things you would usually enjoy
  • Intense irritability and anger
  • Fear that you’re not a good mother
  • Hopelessness
  • Feelings of worthlessness, shame, guilt, the inadequacy
  • Diminished ability to think clearly, concentrate or make decisions
  • Restlessness
  • Severe anxiety or panic attacks (there is also a disorder called postpartum anxiety)
  • Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby

There are also much rarer cases of postpartum psychosis. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is essential that you get medical help and make lifestyle changes to help yourself as much as you possibly can.

Untreated PPD can last indefinitely and have negative consequences for both you and your baby, who may experience serious developmental issues and have trouble properly bonding with their mother due to a reduced ability to parent. This is not a flaw or a criticism – it is the consequence of an illness that you cannot control.

Some women are more at risk – this includes if you have a personal or family history of depression or bipolar disorder, relationship or financial concerns, alcoholism or drug abuse issues, difficulty breastfeeding, or your pregnancy was unplanned/unwanted among other things.

So, you’re struggling with some of the above symptoms – what do you do?

  1. First and foremost, reach out. Talk to your partner, friends, family, or even join a support group and ask for help. It may feel difficult at first, but you have nothing to be ashamed of, and getting help is for the good of you and everybody else around you.
  2. Get as much rest as you can by sleeping when your baby is sleeping, and remember to make time for yourself. Part of caring for your baby is caring for yourself so that you can be your best mum self.
  3. Make time to go out to visit loved ones, and try not to make any big life changes so as not to put more undue stress on yourself.
  4. The next step is to get professional help. This can come in the form of therapy or medication if those are accessible to you, but it’s important that you reach out to a doctor if you can.

Your mental health is important and struggling is completely normal and absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.

We all struggle at one time or another, and being a new mom is a lot of pressure!

Remember to take care of yourself and get as much help as you can – your health is just as important as your baby’s and it’s easy to neglect it.

PPD is not a character flaw but just a common birth complication like any physical one.

You deserve to live a happy life and experience the beauty of motherhood the best that you can!

Mums, did you suffer from postpartum depression after the birth of your child? 

Comment below and share your story with other mums x

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32 thoughts on “Looking Out for Postpartum Depression

  1. ccmoorcroft says:

    I had PPD with both my daughters. It’s something I don’t wish upon anyone. I think the stats are much higher though as most women fear judgement. I wish we could normalize it so that women can get help without feeling guilty or judged

  2. kumudhsingh says:

    I remember when I gave birth to my first child I was on top.of the world. Nothing could bring me down not even my husband having a heart attack and me all alone with a one month old. However when I gave birth to my second child. I felt helpless, in pain, I needed someone, something. I literally had no1 . I was scared and alone. Don’t know why, but eventually I took it one day at a time and I did the best that I could for the day and eventually I worked myself out of those dark days. It’s never easy being a mom , moms just make it look easy. To all the moms out there remember you are precious , beautiful and loved.

  3. yvyeechitsiga says:

    I thank God with both my 2 kids I never experienced any of the symptoms. All the the best to new mums experiencing this, just know that you are special and you are a good mum.

  4. DESIREE says:

    When I gave birth two my twins I was so depressed. My problem was on how I was going to handle twins and a three year old boy as a single parent. I was able to overcome depression after my extended family helped out and gave me time to heal myself and attend counseling

  5. variety_mom says:

    At that time I didn’t know it was PPD but after hearing about the symptoms it definitely affected me. Thankfully I had a good support system❤️

  6. Thabisa says:

    As much as PPD was not on my mind after giving birth but as I read some of the symptoms I can relate, I was affected. I am greatful that it did not ho to the extremes or it was controllable

  7. micailabopape says:

    After I gave birth to my second child my first one was just over a year old. Having to handle both my kids alone was extremely hectic and demanding. I missed being alone having me time and all the freedom in the world. Anxiety and depression had the best of my and I couldn’t enjoy being a mother of 2. I’ve thought of self harm I’ve thought of harming my baby I’ve thought of all the miserable things this world could offer. Being single and having to deal with 2 children who are almost the same age almost killed me. It’s been 6 months since I gave birth and honestly Im so attached to my children I can’t even go an hour without them. They filled my vey empty life!