Motherhood and Depression

Motherhood and DepressionA mother is often facing a range of emotions in response to specific events or issues. From anger and frustration, to anxiety and pride, many mothers deal with the emotions and then regain their balance. However, there are times when depression can seep into the core of a mother’s being and throw her off balance. The most common occurrence of this type of depression is postpartum depression.

What Is Postpartum Depression?

According to the Mayo Clinic there are three forms of depression that occur after child birth. Baby blues, which may include mood swings, typically last for a short period of time. Postpartum depression is a more severe depression that typically lasts longer. In extreme cases postpartum psychosis can occur.

Baby Blues Symptoms

If you have the following symptoms that only last a few days, you may be experiencing the baby blues:

  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Sadness
  • Irritability
  • Crying
  • Decreased concentration
  • Trouble sleeping

Postpartum Depression Symptoms

While there is no one cause for postpartum depression, a woman’s physical and emotional health and lifestyle may contribute. After childbirth, there is a significant drop in hormones which can cause a woman to feel tired and mildly depressed. In addition, this hormone drop can impact mom’s blood pressure and immune system which weakens her overall physical health. Because your physical body is in need, you feel tired, anxious about caring for an infant, and overwhelmed. Thus ultimately drags down your emotional health. Add to these two factors that you may also have other children to care for, along with possibly many other problems, you have all of the variables that cause postpartum depression.

The two indicators that your symptoms are not baby blues, but rather a more serious form of depression, are intensity and duration. If you feel the following symptoms for several weeks or months, and you feel them strongly, you may have postpartum depression:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Intense irritability and anger
  • Overwhelming fatigue
  • Loss of interest in sex
  • Lack of joy in life
  • Feelings of shame, guilt or inadequacy
  • Severe mood swing
  • Difficulty bonding with the baby
  • Withdrawal from family and friends
  • Thoughts of harming yourself or the baby

Treating Postpartum Depression

The Mayo Clinic stresses that the baby blues and postpartum depression are not signs of weakness, but rather conditions that can be treated. It is recommended that you speak with your doctor if these emotions become more intense or last for several weeks. The sooner you can get support the greater your chance of overcoming this condition.

Help for Mothers with Depression

Feeling sad and depressed is often associated with relationship problems, stress related to work or concerns about your physical health. When you turn to alcohol or drugs to respond to this depression, you are creating a destructive cycle. The sooner you can get help the greater the likelihood that you can recover. You need to talk to people about this cycle.

To be assured of confidentiality as well as to receive answers to any questions you might have, call our toll-free helpline any time; we are available 24 hours a day. We want to help you find the right treatment program to handle drinking and depression. We can provide you with options, information about insurance, and resources. We are here to help.