Being a new mom can cause you to go through a rollercoaster of emotions. You might feel overwhelmed with love or bliss, or you might feel panicky or anxious about your responsibilities as a new mother. It’s natural to feel a variety of both positive and negative emotions, given the dramatic hormonal changes that occur following childbirth. However, if you find that your negative emotions are becoming unmanageable, and fear you might be experiencing postpartum depression, here are five warning signs to look out for.
Lack of Interest Towards the Baby – If you’re suffering from postpartum depression, you may find that your new role as a mother lacks joy. You may struggle to bond with your baby, feel overwhelmed by your new responsibilities or overall feel a lack of interest in your baby.
Lack of Concentration – Trouble focusing, difficulty making decisions or memory problems are possible signs of postpartum depression.
Change in Eating or Sleeping Habits – While it’s natural for eating and sleeping habits to change when you’re a new mom, drastic changes are a sign that something may be wrong. If you’re having difficulty falling or staying asleep, or are sleeping longer than usual, this could be a sign of postpartum depression. Eating too much or too little are other warning signs to look out for.
Feelings of Sadness or Hopelessness – Hormonal changes after childbirth will naturally cause mood swings that will differ from what you experienced before giving birth. However, if you find yourself feeling excessively sad or experiencing feelings of hopelessness, you may be suffering from postpartum depression.
Lack of Energy and Motivation – Your newfound responsibilities as a mother will naturally leave you tired, but overwhelming feelings of exhaustion are something to be concerned about. If you find that you frequently lack energy or motivation, this is a sign that you may be experiencing postpartum depression.
If these warning signs seem familiar, you should know that you’re not alone: 1 in 9 new mothers has postpartum depression. Postpartum depression is a serious health condition, but it can be treated.
Postpartum Psychosis – In rare cases, women can have postpartum psychosis; experiencing symptoms such as hallucinations, delusions, obsessive or fearful thoughts, deep paranoia or thoughts of harming yourself or your baby. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, call your doctor or 911 immediately.
If you believe you’re struggling with postpartum depression, a licensed therapist can help teach you strategies to manage your depression and improve your mood. Give my office a call today, and let’s schedule a time to talk.
Chelsy A. Castro, JD, MA, AM, LCSW