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Coping with Postpartum Depression
November 3rd, 2015

Coping with Postpartum Depression

According to various sources, as many as 11 to 15 percent of new mothers experience some degree of postpartum depression (PPD).  That averages to about 3 million US cases per year. No matter how wonderful the experience of being a mother is, there is no denying it can be overwhelming. Healthcare providers say there is a difference between the more common “postpartum baby blues” and clinical postpartum depression.

Postpartum baby blues typically includes mild feelings of anxiety, depression, and irritability that only last a few days to 1-2 weeks after delivery. According to the Mayo Clinic, PPD may be mistaken for the less severe baby blues at first but the symptoms of PPD last much longer. The symptoms of PPD are usually more intense and can affect your ability to properly care for your child.

The symptoms of postpartum depression may include the following:

  • Depressed mood or severe mood swings
  • Excessive crying
  • Difficulty bonding with your baby
  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Loss of appetite or eating much more than usual
  • Inability to sleep (insomnia) or sleeping too much
  • Overwhelming fatigue or loss of energy
  • Reduced interest and pleasure in activities you used to enjoy
  • Intense irritability and anger
  • Fear that you’re not a good mother
  • Feelings of worthlessness, shame, guilt or inadequacy
  • Diminished ability to think clearly, concentrate or make decisions
  • Severe anxiety and panic attacks
  • Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide

It is important that mothers do not feel embarrassed or ashamed if they feel like they are suffering. As we can see from recent news coverage, PPD is far from an uncommon occurrence.  When it comes to symptoms of PPD it is important to seek medical help.

It is incredibly easy to forget about your own needs after your baby is born but the best way to cope is by taking care of yourself. Allow yourself enough time to eat right, sleep well, and share your feeling with others. Many moms try to be super-mom but it is okay to ask for help from loved ones.  Having a good support system will make a huge difference in overcoming symptoms of depression.

Your support system can help to also take away some of the stress of breastfeeding. By utilizing a breast pump to stash your breast milk, your family members can help to get nutrition to your baby even when you are not readily available.

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