Postpartum

Postpartum depression is not to be confused with the “baby blues,” which usually occurs between the second and eleventh day after giving birth and only lasts a week or two. By contrast postpartum depression occurs when the symptoms of depression (see section on depression) appear after the birth of a child or the cessation of nursing, which could be as long as two years after the birth of the child. This form of depression is associated with fluctuations of hormones coupled with an already present risk for depression.

Symptoms

  • Frequent crying
  • Wishing the child had not been born
  • Strong temptation to hurt the baby or baby’s siblings or an incidence of hurting the baby or baby’s siblings (seek professional help immediately)
  • Hearing voices and/or seeing things not there (seek professional help immediately)
  • Memory loss
  • Difficulty concentrating (more intense than the “scattered-ness of motherhood”)

Risk Factors For Postpartum Depression Include:

  • Previous experience of depression (in any form)
  • Family history of depression, postpartum depression, or “baby blues”
  • All the other risk factors listed on the depression page.

If you think you have postpartum depression, talk to your doctor immediately even if the symptoms don’t seem to be serious. Early treatment of postpartum depression helps the mother and the baby (or toddler) and siblings and prevents more serious depression later on.