Postpartum Depression Part 1

In honor of May being Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month, the therapists at Imagine Hope will be discussing Postpartum Depression this week.  We hope you find this to not only be educational but also validating and affirming if you’ve ever struggled after the birth of a child.

What is Postpartum Depression (PPD)?

Becoming a new mother is an exciting time.  It’s wonderful to bring a new life into the world, and to celebrate a miracle.  However, many new moms do not experience the joy and pure bliss they anticipated feeling.  Instead of feeling happy they feel exhausted, depressed, resentful, and anxious.  Because they feel such strong negative emotions, the new mothers may feel like they are a bad mom, or feel there is something wrong with them.

PPD is different from the “baby blues”.  The baby blues are symptoms of depression and anxiety that only last for around 2 weeks after the baby is born.  These symptoms are typically a result of fluctuating hormones and will diminish quickly.  If your symptoms last longer than 2 weeks, you may have PPD.

PPD is the most common childbirth complication, affecting 1 out of every 7 new moms (9-16% of new mothers).  It’s characterized by intense mood swings, depression, anxiety, OCD symptoms, lack of bonding with the baby, extreme exhaustion, detachment, resentment, guilt and shame, suicidal thoughts, and thoughts of harming the child.

If you find yourself experiencing any of the above symptoms, we encourage you to seek immediate help.  Not doing so could put you and your child in danger.  You are not a failure because you have to ask for help.  PPD is a mental health issue and is not brought on by anything you did or did not do.  It can impact women regardless of race, age, socioeconomic status, or physical health.   

Check back this week as we discuss different ways to help cope with PPD.  We will be using the acronym A.W.A.R.E.N.E.S.S. to discuss proper ways to battle PPD symptoms and also encourage self-care for the new mom. 

Written by Christy Fogg, MSW, LCSW

Christy Fogg, MSW, LCSW is a licensed therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Christy enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Christy also provides family counseling, child counseling, and adolescent counseling.

Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield.