Signs You May Have Postpartum Depression

Reviewed by James Brann, MD
Becoming a mom is supposed to be the happiest time of your life, but with moms who suffer from postpartum depression; this often is not the case. Instead, they may feel overwhelmed, anxious, and resentful or even rage towards their mate.
Sadly, as many as 15% of all mothers do have postpartum depression after their babies are born, and many of these moms do not even realize they have it. On the onset, they do try to get by, but internally they feel like they are the world’s worst mothers on the planet.
One of the reasons many mothers who suffer from postpartum depression never get diagnosed is because the symptoms are so subtle. When we picture moms who have postpartum depression, we see them as those actresses on TV who sit in a corner and stare blankly at the baby crib. You don’t do that, so you probably don’t have it, right?

Not so fast…

Anxiety is a problem with the mind; therefore many women talk themselves out of their own feelings, or live with the guilt of feeling a certain way when they actually want to be happy and joyful.

Do you have any of these postpartum depression symptoms?

  • You feel like you are going through the motions, or numb.
  • Everything annoys you, especially your mate.
  • You feel resentment, frustration and irritation almost all the time.
  • You see other moms and think what great mothers they are, but feel you are not.
  • You’re overwhelmed and say things like, “I just can’t do this. I’m not capable of being a mother.”
  • Guilt overrides your feeling of joy in motherhood. You try to make up for it or overcompensate, but deep down you feel like your child deserves a better mom than you.
  • You don’t sleep very well, and instead of sleeping when the baby does, you use it as time for yourself to do housework, homework or chores almost like a punishment.
  • It feels like you miss the “old you” that you knew before motherhood and wish that you could get her back.
  • You don’t have as many friends as you used to, and you don’t want to admit your feelings because people might think you are crazy or then try to give your kids to social services.
  • It is difficult to focus or concentrate, because your head is in a fog.
  • Instead of feeling blissful and happy, you feel hopeless and sadness over your situation.
  • You feel disconnected from your family and friends.
  • You constantly rehash things you have done wrong as a mother, such as not breastfeeding, not giving your kid enough love, or even for spoiling your child. You feel responsible for your child’s behavior problems; they are your entire fault.
  • Crying is more common than laughing.
  • Most of all, you feel like a big failure.
As you were reading this list, perhaps you were nodding or feeling a sudden epiphany. If not, you are probably within the 85% of mothers who are just fine.

Just to be clear, having postpartum depression does not make you a bad parent. It just means you need help to clear your mind from the negative thoughts, anxiety or frustrations of life. A therapist or counselor could be beneficial for you, rather than medication. Talking to others or joining a support group is also a positive idea to cope.

Most women do recover from this, and having it does not mean you would harm your child or harm yourself, although in rare cases, these unfortunate things do occur. If you feel that strongly, seek help immediately during a time of crisis, especially if anger or rage overcomes you.

For further reading, visit some websites about postpartum depression. You may recover in three months, six months, or a year. The first step is acceptance.


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