Take our online depression self-assessment

If you’ve recently had a baby, you might feel like you should be overjoyed (albeit in the trenches with feedings, wakings and diapers). But what if you’re not? If it’s been less than two weeks since you’ve given birth, you might just be dealing with the “baby blues.” 

This term refers to a temporary mood disruption that commonly occurs due to all the physical and hormonal changes your body goes through after bringing a baby into the world. But if you’ve been struggling with a low mood for more than two weeks, you might be experiencing postpartum depression, or PPD. 

In that case, you should seek help from a depression therapist or other mental health provider. It’s important to note that PPD can also affect those who have gone through a miscarriage or stillbirth. Having experienced the trauma of a miscarriage in the past can make you more likely to develop PPD in the future, even after a healthy pregnancy and birth. So don’t ignore these signs in your own life or the life of a loved one, even if the worst has happened.

Here, we’ll go through some of the signs of PPD that might indicate it’s time to give a depression therapist or other healthcare provider a call.

Feelings of sadness, hopelessness or worthlessness that you can’t shake

We all have emotional ups and downs, and being a new mom is hard — especially if your pregnancy and birth experience were more challenging than expected. But you shouldn’t feel a persistent sense of despair or extreme sadness that won’t go away. If you do, seek help from your doctor or a therapist. You deserve to feel better.

Guilt or shame

The low mood that’s characteristic of PPD can also take the form of guilt or shame. You may feel guilty about something in your past, something to do with your pregnancy or birth experience or something about your personality. Or you may just feel guilty or ashamed that you’re feeling so down when you have a new baby. If you’re struggling with this PPD symptom, know that it’s not your fault. A therapist can help you put this feeling in its proper context so you can begin to heal.

Irritability or anger

You may not immediately think “anger” when you hear the term “depression,” but PPD can take the form of excessive irritability or rage. Yes, the demands of motherhood can be frustrating, especially when you’re changing diaper after diaper. But if you’re experiencing excessive anger at the slightest provocation, there could be a deeper issue occurring. 

Excessive anxiety about your baby

Bringing your newborn home from the hospital can be terrifying. You’re probably seeing new dangers you’ve never thought of before. However, seek help from a depression therapist if you feel like your every waking (or sleeping) moment is consumed by fear about something happening to your baby. That’s not healthy, and it could indicate that you’re dealing with PPD.

Trouble sleeping — or sleeping too much

You’re most likely sleep-deprived if you’re caring for a newborn, but sleep disturbance is also closely linked to PPD. This includes both trouble falling or staying asleep (insomnia) and sleeping too much (hypersomnia). It’s potentially a two-way street: Trouble sleeping might predispose you to PPD, or it might occur as a result of PPD. Either way, if you’re struggling to get sleep and feel rested, mention it to your therapist or other healthcare provider.

Lack of interest or a feeling of emptiness

Aside from sadness, PPD could just make you feel empty, dull or listless. It can make things you once enjoyed no longer seem fun at all. If you’re struggling to find pleasure in things you used to love, a depression therapist may be able to help.

Feeling like you can’t take care of your baby

Beyond the normal first-time parent feelings of “What am I doing?”, if you at any point feel like you can’t take care of your child because of your low mood, tell your partner, family, and therapist or healthcare provider right away. It’s important to get help so you and your baby can get the care you need.

Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby

This is one of the most severe symptoms of PPD. It could also be an indicator of a severe but rare condition called postpartum psychosis. If you are thinking of harming yourself or someone else, including your child, please call 911 or 988 immediately.

Active Path Mental Health can help you on your journey to feel better

At Active Path Mental Health, we specialize in hard-to-treat depression. So if you’re struggling with PPD and are desperate for relief, we may be able to help. We provide an FDA-cleared, alternative, medication-free treatment called transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), which uses pulses of magnetic energy to stimulate brain areas that may be underactive in depression.

Contact our team today for more information about the depression treatments we offer or to schedule an initial appointment.

Recent Posts

5 benefits of talk therapy for depression

5 benefits of talk therapy for depression

When you’re feeling down, talking about your thoughts and emotions with another person can ease some of the weight off your shoulders. Venting to a family member, close friend or significant other...

read more
3 alternative therapies for depression

3 alternative therapies for depression

In the world of mental healthcare, there are many different courses of action for treatment. You can test out different options to help your disorder symptoms. If you have depression, the option...

read more