9 Symptoms of Postpartum Depression All New Mums Should Know
New mothers, it's important you read up on postpartum depression!
Becoming a mother is finally realised when you hold your precious newborn in your arms. But the journey of parenthood isn’t the romanticised idea many new mothers make it out to be.
In fact, it can be really hard for some mothers to want to be around their baby shortly after they leave the hospital.
We’re not referring to baby blues, either. It’s actually very common, as up to 80 per cent of new mothers experience mood swings and crying for no reason a few days after giving birth.
However, this lasts only up to 14 days. If you continue to feel down after this time, you might be suffering from postpartum depression.
You might feel weepy, extremely sad, or very anxious what seems like all the time.
Postpartum depression isn’t that uncommon, affecting 15 per cent of new mothers. In fact, postnatal depression in dads is now being recognised as happening in one in ten fathers.
If you think you might be suffering from this disorder, see this list of common postpartum depression symptoms and speak with your ob-gyn or a mental health specialist if you have concerns.
9 common postpartum depression symptoms
1. Feelings of hopelessness, anger, or sadness
It’s understandable that you may feel overwhelmed by this new change in life as you step into motherhood. But postpartum depression can leave you feeling like you’re not good enough or not prepared.
Other common symptoms of postpartum depression include creeping doubts that the baby was a terrible idea. Hopelessness can set in along with guilt for feeling this way.
2. Loss of appetite
A common symptom of postpartum depression is a big change in appetite. You might feel like you don’t want to eat anything, or you eat much more than you usually do.
In turn, this affects your energy levels and you can feel lethargic, even after you sleep.
3. Headaches, backaches, and joint pain
Random pains around the body are a physical manifestation of postpartum depression. Common symptoms include sharp headaches, painful backaches, upset stomachs, and random joint pain.
In addition to the above, you may also have chest pain as a result of panic attacks.
4. Crying and feelings of irritability
Crying is normal for new mothers.
In fact, 70% to 80% of experience childbirth-related sadness and anxiety.
However, if it’s been going on for weeks, then you may be suffering from PPD.
These tears may also stem from anger and frustration.
5. Thoughts about harming yourself or others
This, perhaps, is one of the most obvious signs that a mother is suffering from postpartum depression.
You start having thoughts about harming either yourself or your child. In its less severe cases, a mother may feel indifferent or uncaring toward her child and their wellbeing.
Although it sounds scary, new mums having these types of thoughts are more common than you think. According to research, one in five mums admitted having thoughts of self-harm or harming others.
If you are having such thoughts, it’s important you talk to your ob-gyn or a psychologist about your mental health.
6. Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
Mums with postpartum depression will struggle with sleep.
You may find yourself suffering from insomnia and be unable to sleep, or sleeping too much. Establishing a sleeping routine will be very difficult.
As noted earlier, you will still feel lethargic even if you do manage to get some shut-eye.
7. Social isolation
Withdrawing from family and friends is a common symptom of postpartum depression in new mums.
In fact, you might also find yourself not wanting to be around your partner or your newborn.
This results in being away from your loved ones and spending the majority of your time in isolation.
8. Lack of motivation
With postpartum depression, it’s normal to feel a complete lack of motivation. Mothers with PPD will have far less interest or pleasure in the types of activities they used to love.
This is characterised by a distinct lack of energy to want to do anything.
9. Difficulty concentrating
While you may have been on-the-ball and had no issues making key decisions at work and home, postpartum depression can affect your ability to think clearly.
Mums with PPD won’t be able to focus on one task or topic for as long. This symptom normally looks like a lack of concentration or confidence in making decisions.
Postpartum depression affects a lot of new mothers. But it’s important to get support and treatment. If left untreated, the debilitating disorder can last for years. Take care of yourself, mum, and don’t be afraid to get the help you need if this affects you.