We want to preface this by saying that we are not medical professionals, and it is VERY important that you seek out proper care from a doctor or licensed therapist if you or a loved one suspects PPD.
Postpartum depression is a form of depression that occurs after the pregnancy/birth of a baby. Statistics show that it may occur in 1 out of 7 women, and of those affected, around 15% may develop severe postpartum depression.
People will sometimes use the phrase interchangeably with "baby blues", but the symptoms are more intense and will typically last much longer. There is no one cause or trigger for this, although there have been some recent studies done on what may contribute to developing PPD: hormone fluctuations, lifestyle factors, birth trauma, lack of sleep/fatigue, and lack of adequate support may play a role.
Here is a short (and certainly not exhaustive) list of common postpartum depression symptoms. Notice that some of these aren't things that we typically associate with depression, like "easily angered" or "stomachaches".
And while friends and family aren't always correct in their assessments of your mental health, if someone you trust is worried about you and mentions it, take it as a sign of love and not criticism. Remember, you aren't supposed to be doing life alone. Your support group is there for a reason. ❤️
-Inability to focus or concentrate
-Forgetting things easily
-Being very indecisive
-Feelings of inadequacy
-Feeling to blame for things outside your control
-Fatigue or general loss of energy
-Change in appetite
-Withdrawing from partner, family, or friends
-Not wanting to be alone with baby
-Disinterested in caring for baby
-Disinterested in normal hobbies
-Excessive crying for long periods with no reason
-Drastic mood swings
-Intense anxiety or fear that inhibits daily tasks
-Feeling hopeless or shame
-Extreme sadness or despair
While symptoms of weepiness, tiredness, and hormonal mood swings are common after giving birth, its important to know the difference between "normal", and PPD. If things go on for more than a few weeks, begin to intensify, or affect quality of life, it may be time to reach out to a medical provider. There is no shame in getting the help you need!
Not sure who to reach out to for help? Try your OB/GYN, midwife, doula, or a licensed therapist. These will be the most likely to have local support options.
www.postpartumdepression.org is a great online resource that features a basic screening test, as well as national hotlines and many helpful articles.