According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), up to 20 percent of new mothers experience one or more symptoms of postpartum depression. Similar to other types of depression, PPD can include a number of symptoms:
Feeling down or depressed for most of the day for several weeks or more
Feeling distant and withdrawn from family and friends
A loss of interest in activities (including sex)
Changes in eating and sleeping habits
Feeling tired most of the day
Feeling angry or irritable
Having feelings of anxiety, worry, panic attacks or racing thoughts
Postpartum depression symptoms may start in the first few weeks following childbirth. Sometimes, symptoms of PPD do not begin until months after birth.
Postpartum psychosis is a related mental health condition that can also develop after childbirth. This rare and serious condition includes symptoms of hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t there), paranoia, and, at times, thoughts of harming one’s self or others. Some mothers have frequent thoughts about harming their children.
If you are experiencing signs of postpartum depression or postpartum psychosis, please tell someone. These conditions can be effectively treated and often respond best when treatment is started right away
The adjustment to motherhood can be very stressful as you learn to navigate your new role, balancing care for yourself and an infant (and possibly other children and family members). This can be demanding, exhausting and overwhelming. If you are a new mom with feelings of anxiety or depression, you may even feel guilty or ashamed. It is important to know that postpartum depression is not your fault. Postpartum depression is a medical condition that can be treated. By sharing your feelings with a professional, you will be on your way to making positive changes that will have a big impact on your daily well-being.