Most people assume the birth of a baby should incite never-ending joy and fulfillment in the mother. Unfortunately, the reality of hormonal changes and lack of sleep can make the weeks and months after giving birth feel quite the opposite. Although medical professionals are still learning more about the complexities of postpartum depression, here are a few warning signs:
A Desire for Isolation
If you or a new mother you know actively seeks being alone, it could be a red flag. True, new mothers need extensive rest, but anti-social behavior goes above this desire for daytime naps. Instead, wanting to be alone can point to the turmoil and confusion going on internally.
Trouble Bonding with Baby
Depressed mothers usually find difficulty bonding with their little one. Although strong maternal bonds can take time, prolonged emotional detachment can indicate something more serious. More importantly, this lack of connection can lead to further dismay and confusion, exacerbating depressive symptoms in the long run.
First-time mothers face an array of challenges, so it’s easy to imagine feeling overcome sometimes. With postpartum depression, however, mothers often feel underwater constantly. She sees no light at the end of the tunnel as despair and frustration threaten her peace of mind minute-by-minute.
Although lack of sleep can cause irritability, prolonged, high-intensity anger could mean a deeper problem exists. Whether rage focuses on the baby, spouse, other family members, or complete strangers at the grocery store, intense uncontrollable emotions should be recognized and dealt with as soon as possible.
In the days after giving birth, a woman’s hormones are in flux, which can lead to crying spells. However, if you can’t stop crying after the first couple of weeks or have trouble calming down, the tears might be the outward expression of internal conflict.
Suicidal Thoughts or Tendencies
One of the more extreme symptoms of postpartum depression is a desire for self-harm. If overwhelming feelings of inadequacy, guilt and loneliness boil over, a need to escape can present at the forefront. Although these feelings might never be acted upon, it’s vital to recognize and deal with them immediately.
Unusual Sleeping Patterns
New mothers lose sleep, but if you find yourself struggling to relax even when the baby quiets, or if you sleep long stretches with difficulty waking, depression could be the cause. Unfortunately, erratic sleeping only complicates depressive symptoms, often making a troubled situation worse.
If you or anyone you know suffers from postpartum depression, early intervention can be a game-changer. Eagle’s Landing OB/GYN in Stockbridge, GA wants you and your family to thrive. For any questions or concerns regarding pregnancy, parenting or related issues, don’t hesitate to give us a call at 770-474-1919.