After having a baby, a mother’s body goes through a myriad of changes as it recovers from the process of birthing a human. There are several postpartum conditions to keep an eye out for, but one of the more dangerous ones is postpartum depression (PPD). If you suspect you or someone you know may be suffering from PPD, help them seek out the medical care and assistance they need immediately. But how can you tell if you or a loved one may be suffering from PPD? Keep reading, and we will share with you some tips for recognizing postpartum depression.
Energy and Sleep
While it is true that recovery from the birthing process takes quite a toll on the recovering mother, one area that helps in recognizing postpartum depression is energy levels and mother’s sleep behaviors. Extreme fatigue can be a significant sign of PPD, but it should be noted that one of the main factors that distinguish it from other conditions a mother may experience after birth is the duration of the symptoms (more on that later). Despite feeling completely drained, it is not uncommon for those dealing with postpartum depression to lose their appetite (further decreasing energy levels) or to exhibit signs of insomnia. Unfortunately, not eating properly and lack of sleep contribute to the fatigue and can often deepen the depression.
One of the significant changes that your body undergoes after birth is the redistribution and balancing of hormones. Unfortunately, the massive changes in hormones can stir a variety of feelings and affects each person differently. Regarding recognizing postpartum depression, be on the lookout for feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or helplessness that just don’t seem to go away. You may also feel like a failure as a mother or feel guilty that you are having these feelings at all. After all, this is supposed to be one of the happiest times in your life, right? If you (or someone you know) is experiencing any these emotions, know that you are not alone. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), “According to the Centers for Disease Control, 11 to 20% of women who give birth each year have postpartum depression symptoms.”
The major distinguishing factor for recognizing postpartum depression versus baby blues is that PPD lasts longer than a few weeks. You may also observe an inability or lack of desire to take care of yourself, your child, or both. Memory problems may begin to surface that can make functioning considerably more challenging, or you may start experiencing obsessive-compulsive thoughts or behaviors.