Postpartum Depression Counseling
The birth of a new baby can trigger a mix of powerful emotions, from joy and awe to anxiety and fear. It can also result in an emotion you might not expect — depression.
New mothers are especially susceptible to postpartum depression, or PPD, within the first year postpartum. If you or someone you know is experiencing severe mood swings, lack of joy, fatigue, irritability, insomnia, a loss of appetite or difficulty bonding with their newborn, PPD may be at play. Postpartum depression is never something to be ashamed about, but it should also never be ignored.
PPD may go unnoticed due to mild symptoms, but in other serious cases, it may lead to suicidal ideation. In this article, we’ll take you through the signs and symptoms of postpartum depression, as well as options for treatment.
What Is Postpartum Depression?
Postpartum depression is a mental health concern that most often affects mothers within the first year of their babies’ birth. PPD can affect any parent, although it most often affects mothers who have given birth.
During pregnancy, hormone levels — particularly estrogen and progesterone — increase considerably, and they fall drastically within the hours or days following childbirth. In some cases, the thyroid gland can also be affected, leaving women more at risk for depression.
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, between 10% and 20% of new mothers experience postpartum depression. Many women also experience the baby blues — not to be confused with postpartum depression — following childbirth. Women with the maternity blues often describe symptoms of anxiety, irritability and tearfulness. These ailments usually decrease within a couple of weeks, and many new moms report feeling relieved knowing their feelings are normal and temporary.
Symptoms of Postpartum Depression
Postpartum depression can occur any time within the first year after a woman gives birth and is most likely to show up as extreme anxiety. New mothers with postpartum often feel overwhelmed and don’t want to be left alone.
Symptoms of postpartum depression include:
- Appetite disruption accompanied by rapid weight loss
- Mental confusion and fogginess
- Tired most of the day
- Mood swings and insomnia
- Feeling inadequate as a mother
- Exhausted but unable to sleep, even as your baby sleeps
- Crying more than usual
- Feeling sad most of the day
- Unable to enjoy things you used to
- Feeling like you will always feel this way
- Feelings of panic or disturbing memories triggered by birth trauma
- Repetitive, compulsive behaviors including checking, counting and an excessive focus on hygiene and cleanliness
Treating Postpartum With Therapy
About 90% of women experiencing PPD can be treated successfully with a combination of psychotherapy and medication, or just medication.
A support group may also be helpful in learning coping skills. In severe cases, hospitalization or electroconvulsive therapy, or ECT, may be used to treat depression symptoms involving delusions, hallucinations or overwhelming suicidal thoughts.
Reach Out to Taylor Counseling Group for Help With Postpartum Depression Today
When you are experiencing postpartum depression, you want relief right away. You want to feel like yourself again and enjoy your new baby. While your doctor can offer you help, counseling is part of the solution for many new moms.
Your mind and body go through many changes during and after pregnancy. If you feel sad, emotionless or empty most of the time or for longer than two weeks before or after pregnancy, it’s time to reach out for help.
Taylor Counseling Group offers counseling services for postpartum depression, and we are ready to help you and your baby overcome challenges and be as healthy as possible. We invite you to schedule an appointment online to learn more about how we can help you overcome PPD today.