Postpartum depression is a serious issue and in recent years it has become an important and much more open topic. New mothers may feel embarrassed that they are not overjoyed with the arrival of their new child and they hide their negative emotions towards their expanded family. It is surprising to know that many women suffer from from upsetting and frightening feelings after giving birth and many still do not receive the help they need to get them though such a difficult time.
First, it is important to distinguish between baby blues and postpartum depression. Experiencing feelings of sadness, irritability and drastic mood swings is completely normal after the birth of a baby as a result of hormones adjusting back to normal, pre-pregnancy levels. If these feelings persist after six to eight weeks, it may be time to get some help.
I always have great respect for celebrities who share their stories of postpartum depression. While it is sad to hear that they have struggled, the awareness they bring to the issue and hope they give to other women is inspiring.
Recently I learned that Serena Williams suffered from postpartum depression after her daughter Olympia was born. She reported feeling hopeless and the inability to stop crying at times. These symptoms are common.
If you experience signs of postpartum depression it is critical that you discuss it with your partner, therapist, or close confidant. Keeping feelings such as sadness and anger bottled up may trigger even more anxiety about the situation.
For many, simply discussing your feelings brings instant relief when they hear “hey, this is normal,” “I’ll help you through this,” or “I felt the same way.”
Sometimes all you need is a break, after all caring for a newborn can be emotionally and physically exhausting! Getting out to see a friend, taking a nap, getting a massage or diving into your hobby for a few hours can bring about great relief.
But, if you are not experiencing a change handling the problem on your own, then it is time to seek professional help. As part of my therapeutic practice here in NYC I have helped many women just like you work through the range and waves of emotions experienced after giving birth.