Why Am I So Sad? Postpartum Depression Symptoms to Watch Out For

Have you recently had a baby and are you worried you could be showing some postpartum depression symptoms? It also could be that you have a wife, partner, daughter or friend you’re concerned could be struggling with PPD symptoms.

The ‘postpartum baby blues’ are surprisingly common. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, it’s figured that 80 percent of new moms experience the baby blues for the first few weeks after giving birth. This can include feelings of fatigue, unhappiness and worry. However, other new moms struggle with more than this milder form of sadness after giving birth.

For some women, their sadness crosses into postpartum depression. Roughly 15 percent of births result in PPD according to the National Institute of Mental Health. For these struggling mothers, the sadness can be severe, possibly even making it difficult to take care of themselves and their families.

Are you concerned you could be showing some of the symptoms of postpartum depression? If so, here’s a little extra info including some symptoms to watch out for.

What Causes Postpartum Depression?

First off, postpartum depression has nothing to do with a character flaw. Much of PPD is physical in nature. Women experience a dramatic decrease in hormones after giving birth. Specifically, a decrease in progesterone and estrogen is a likely contributor.

In some cases, the hormones your thyroid typically produces can drop significantly causing you to feel depressed, fatigued or sluggish too.

Besides the physical aspect of postpartum depression, anyone who’s had a new child knows emotions can run high. Feeling overwhelmed and sleep-deprived can make it difficult to handle what otherwise would be simple problems.

Postpartum anxiety is common as well. You may worry if you’ll be able to adequately care for your baby. You also may feel like your life is out of control, like you’ve lost your identity or that you feel less attractive.

Is It the Postpartum Baby Blues or Postpartum Depression?

Just because you feel sad after the birth of a child doesn’t necessarily mean you’re struggling with postpartum depression. As shared earlier, more commonly, you’ll need to work through the postpartum blues.

What exactly is the difference? Let’s take a look at some of the common symptoms for each.

Postpartum Baby Blues Symptoms

Unlike PPD, the baby blues can last anywhere from a few days to two weeks and are less severe. Here are some of the common symptoms these new moms experience.

  • Irritability
  • Appetite changes
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Anxiety
  • Sadness
  • Mood swings
  • Crying
  • Decreased concentration
  • Feeling overwhelmed

What is Postpartum Depression and Its Symptoms?

Early on, it’s fairly common to mistake the baby blues for postpartum depression. However, postpartum depression lasts longer and exhibits more severe symptoms. Struggles of this intensity can interfere with daily tasks.

The following symptoms typically show up within the first several weeks of giving birth. Having said that, they sometimes show up during pregnancy or up to a year after having your child.

  • Restlessness
  • Hopelessness
  • Excessive crying
  • Insomnia or sleeping too much
  • The fear of being a bad mom
  • Severe anxiety and/or panic attacks
  • No longer interested in activities you once found pleasurable
  • Severe mood swings or depressed mood
  • A hard time bonding with your new child
  • Regular difficulty with clear thinking, poor concentration or decision-making
  • Intense anger and irritability
  • Change in appetite (eating too little or too much)
  • Feeling excessive inadequacy, shame, guilt or worthlessness
  • Extreme energy loss or fatigue
  • Thoughts of harming your baby or yourself
  • Ongoing thoughts of suicide or death

Understanding the symptoms of postpartum depression and anxiety is an important first step. Having said that, it takes a trained professional to determine if you or a loved one actually have PPD. Postpartum psychosis is also possible after giving birth. And, contrary to what many realize, new dads can also experience postpartum depression.

Do Some of These Postpartum Depression Symptoms Sound Familiar?

Even if they don’t, postpartum counseling isn’t a bad idea. A new child is a big adjustment for all moms and dads. At the same time, if you read this article and thought, “that sounds a lot like me,” now could be a great time to consider postpartum depression counseling. This type of depression is surprisingly common, and you should never feel ashamed to reach out if things have been tough lately.

Could you benefit from a postpartum therapist or postpartum depression therapist in Newport Beach, CA or Mission Viejo, CA? If so, you’re welcome to schedule an appointment with the OC Relationship Center. We also provide couples counseling, marriage counseling and individual counseling. Congrats on your new child and we look forward to meeting you!

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