Having a child is perhaps one of the greatest joy to humans. Months of hardship, careful living and lifestyle changes followed by the awe-inspiring birthing process, really is a rollercoaster ride for the parents, and they love the child all the more because of it. However, sometimes, the mother may not feel the best after the birth. There are two types of emotion or mood related issues that can occur. One of them is baby blues and the other is post-partum depression. Less commonly, post partum anxiety, OCD or psychosis can occur as well.
Signs and symptoms of baby blues — which last only a few days to a week or two after your baby is born — may include:
- Mood swings
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Reduced concentration
- Appetite problems
- Trouble sleeping
Post-partum depression, on the other hand, lasts much longer and is much more severe. Starting from the time of birth it can last to even 6 months after the birth. Untreated, it may prevail for longer, and interfere with the mother’s care-taking abilities and attachment with the infant.
Post-partum depression symptoms may include:
- Depressed mood or severe mood swings
- Excessive crying
- Difficulty bonding with your baby
- Withdrawing from family and friends
- Loss of appetite or eating much more than usual
- Inability to sleep (insomnia) or sleeping too much
- Overwhelming fatigue or loss of energy
- Reduced interest and pleasure in activities you used to enjoy
- Intense irritability and anger
- Fear that you're not a good mother
- Feelings of worthlessness, shame, guilt or inadequacy
- Diminished ability to think clearly, concentrate or make decisions
- Severe anxiety and panic attacks
- Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
- Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide
Post-partum psychosis/OCD and anxiety are rare but may occur nonetheless. The signs are as follows:
- State of agitation or anxiety
- Confusion and disorientation
- Obsessive thoughts about your baby
- Hallucinations and delusions
- Sleep disturbances
- Attempts to harm yourself or your baby
Postpartum psychosis may lead to life-threatening thoughts or behaviors and requires immediate treatment.
The good news is that of these conditions are treatable. Please contact a registered mental health professional at the earliest in order to get the relevant help.
You can read our other articles on what causes these conditions, what are certain genetic and environment risk-factors, what the effects of these conditions are and how to get help and get better. These articles will help you stay informed and take the right decision at the earliest.
If you are having suicidal thoughts, have attempted to harm yourself or the baby, it is advised that you talk to a supportive friend or a loved one and get yourself admitted to a hospital for observation and emergency care.
Please feel free to ask questions and post comments.