Recognize any of this?
Postpartum blues. A certain amount of insomnia, irritability, tears, overwhelmed feelings, and mood swings are normal during the first days after childbirth. These “baby blues” usually peak around the fourth postpartum day and subside in about 2 weeks, when hormonal changes have settled down. If you have postpartum blues after childbirth, you’re not alone-the majority of women have temporary symptoms of depression mixed with moments of happiness after having a baby.
Be sure to report any feelings of postpartum blues to your doctor at your first postpartum checkup, so he or she can follow up with you.
Postpartum depression (PPD). Symptoms of postpartum depression can follow postpartum blues. They can feel like more of the same, or worse than before. Postpartum depression can also happen months after childbirth or pregnancy loss. In some cases, symptoms peak after slowly building for 3 or 4 months.
- Depressed mood-tearfulness, hopelessness, and feeling empty inside, with or without severe anxiety.
- Loss of pleasure in either all or almost all of your daily activities.
- Appetite and weight change-usually a drop in appetite and weight, but sometimes the opposite.
- Sleep problems-usually trouble with sleeping, even when your baby is sleeping.
- Noticeable change in how you walk and talk-usually restlessness, but sometimes sluggishness.
- Extreme fatigue or loss of energy.
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, with no reasonable cause.
- Difficulty concentrating and making decisions.
- Thoughts about death or suicide. Some women with PPD have fleeting, frightening thoughts of harming their babies: these thoughts tend to be fearful thoughts, rather than urges to harm.
This a compilation of symptoms found in mental health websites on the internet. A better list, written in plain mama English is available here. Brought to you by the amazing Katherine Stone of Postpartum Progress (which is the most comprehensive and useful resource on PPD I have ever encountered. If you are not familiar with it, do yourself a favor and go there now.)