Having a baby is one of the biggest transitions of your life. It is rewarding and challenging. But with so many things changing at the same time, such as your relationships, body, career, independence, hormone levels, and sleep quality, having a baby often comes with feelings of being overwhelmed, sad, and irritable. About 80% of women experience “baby blues” in the first two weeks after giving birth. Symptoms include mood swings, crying, worrying, irritability, sadness, and anxiety. However, if these symptoms last longer than two weeks, are distressing to you, or make it difficult to carry out daily activities, you may have post-partum depression.
Signs of post-partum depression might show up in your feelings, such as feeling extremely sad, worthless, or hopeless; your behaviours, such as eating a lot more or less than usual or withdrawing from family and friends; your body, such as headaches or upset stomachs, having very little energy, or having difficulty concentrating; or your thoughts, such as having thoughts that you are a bad or terrible mother. Feelings of depression may also come with symptoms of anxiety, such as excessive worry, constantly feeling “on guard,” or avoiding certain people or places.
Post-partum depression is a serious illness. If it is not treated, it can have long term consequences for both you and your baby. Some behaviours that women use to cope with the negative feelings may actually make things worse, such as staying up late to get alone time, not attending support groups or social events, or using drugs or alcohol to deal with problems. At Aspens and Oaks, we can help you overcome post-partum depression and find a balance that fits for you and your new family.