Postpartum depression is a mood disorder that can affect women after giving birth. As such, it does not have a single cause, but probably results from a combination of physical and emotional factors.
“Postpartum” means the time after childbirth. Most women get the “baby blues,” or feel sad or empty, within a few days of giving birth. For many women, the baby blues go away in 3 to 5 days. If your baby blues don’t go away or you feel sad, hopeless, or empty for longer than 2 weeks, you may have postpartum depression. Feeling hopeless or empty after childbirth is not a regular or expected part of being a mother.
In mothers with postpartum depression the feelings of sadness, anxiety, and exhaustion can be extreme and can interfere with a woman’s ability to care for herself or her child.
Many factors may contribute to and compound postpartum depression:
- A labor that didn’t go according to birth plan
- Fatigue from an arduous labor
- Lack of sleep from the constant demands of a newborn
- Breastfeeding challenges
- Physical discomfort during recovery
- Lack of family nearby to support the transition
- Difficulty adjusting to weight gain
- Changes in home and work routines
- Perfectionism and the desire to be a “perfect” mom
- Doubts about the ability to be a good mother
If you think you may be battling postpartum depression, remember, you’re not alone.
Book a session with a therapist in Providence, Rhode Island or Sommerville, Massachusetts office to understand a little bit more about it!