The exact cause for Postpartum Depression isn't known. Hormone levels change during and after pregnancy and it has been considered that this may produce chemical changes in the brain, and that this may in turn play a part in causing depression. The length of time that Postpartum Depression lasts varies for each woman. Some feel better within a few weeks, for others it may lasts for many months. For women who have more severe symptoms, or who may have suffered with depression in the past, it may take longer to get well.
Some symptoms of Postpartum Depression are: feeling sad or down often, frequent crying, restlessness or irritability, loss of interest in the pleasures of life, loss of or increase in appetite, loss of energy and motivation, trouble falling to or staying asleep, feelings of worthlessness or hopeless, unexplained weight gain or loss, and showing little or no interest in your baby. In some cases, Postpartum Depression can be so severe that the mother would commit suicide or may harm the baby.
Postpartum Depression is treated like any other depression. Support, counseling and medication can all help. Your doctor can help determine which treatment is best for you. If you take an anti-depressant, it can enter into the breast milk, so talking to your doctor about risks would be wise if you choose to breastfeed. Your doctor can decide which medication you can use while nursing your baby.
If you find that you are suffering from Postpartum Depression, it doesn't mean that you're losing your mind, are going crazy nor does it mean you are a bad mother. Having a great support system during this time would really be helpful. Help with household chores, errands, or just having someone to talk to can really make a big difference during this time. Many communities offer support groups. Remember to take time for yourself. Becoming a new mom can really be overwhelming, and a 15 minute break could relieve a lot of stress and tension and make it easier to cope.
Are you a mom? Have you ever experienced postpartum depression? How did you overcome it? Do you know of anyone who appeared to be suffering from postpartum depression? Did you intervene?