Postpartum depression (PPD) can hit you like a ton of bricks on the same day you give birth. It can also start slowly a few months after giving birth. Either way, any mom can experience postpartum depression.
It does not matter how old or young you are. Neither does it matter whether this is your first pregnancy or not. You could go through postpartum depression even if you do not expect to.
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That is why it helps to know the signs. You might well see some signs and be unsure if the things you notice are truly postpartum depression. Sometimes the way you feel is the best indicator.
What is postpartum depression?
It is a type of depression that some women experience after having a baby.
When does postpartum depression start?
There is no definite time period but it can start at any point within the first year after childbirth.
How does postpartum depression feel?
Postpartum depression will feel like different things for moms who go through it.
Here is a list of some of the things you may be experiencing:
- An inability to focus on and enjoy the present moment. You know you might have postpartum depression when your mind keeps thinking ahead to the future. You are either planning for it constantly or feeling anxious about it.
- A great sense of insecurity. Insecurity about the future. About your life and where it is headed. You feel uncertain about the kind of life your child will have. You feel generally unsafe in the world.
- Heightened and crippling anxiety. Yes, postpartum anxiety (PPA) is in itself a condition. However, it can also manifest as a symptom of postpartum depression. There is a constant sense of impending doom hanging over your head. You feel anxious about everything. About every situation. You picture the worst case scenario all the time. It stops you from enjoying your life and being able to be fully present with your family.
- You have bouts of anger. It could be something major or the most mundane thing. It seems to take just about anything to set you off these days.
- You are physically unable to get a move on. You feel so inexplicably miserable that you can hardly bear to move. Whether it is to the store or to prepare food for your family, you struggle to bring yourself to take any action. You might also be feeling physically exhausted but have no real reason for it as you have not engaged in any strenuous activity.
- You feel like you are having an outer body experience everyday. It is like you are watching the world from the outside. You feel unable but also willing to be a part of everything going on around you. You have lost any interest in the things and people you used to care about.
- You do not feel the bond with your baby that you expected to feel. What does postpartum depression feel like? A high number of women will probably mention this as a symptom. Especially if this is not your first baby and you did not experience PPD the first time around, you might be noticing that you are not as infatuated with the baby as you would have thought you would be. Infact, you might even find it difficult to be alone with the baby because you have absolutely no interest in them.
- You have had thoughts of harming yourself. Postpartum depression symptoms can include thoughts of self-harm. You have either already tried to or have thought about how you will do it.
- You have had thoughts about harming your baby or have actually tried to harm your baby intentionally. This could be in a moment of anger or frustration, for example. Postpartum depression symptoms can also sadly involve feeling like you want to harm your baby. It can come from thoughts of not seeing what the point of life is for your baby or that you are not fit to care for them.
- Based on the above, feelings of guilt could arise. Those feelings of guilt are difficult to deal with as they are just another burden that you feel like you have to carry. What does postpartum depression feel like? Postpartum depression can make you feel so lost that you are unable to do the things you normally do with your children and partner and you feel guilty for not being able to meet their expectations.
- Mama Bear does not even begin to describe it. You cannot bear to have anyone else touch or spend time with your baby. You want to be with them every second. You tend to feel anxious or even angry when anyone else wants to spend some time with them.
- The waterworks are always on or ready to come on. You cry a lot. The smallest things can upset you, making you feel sad enough to cry.
- Your moods are unstable. You feel motivated and ready to take on the world one moment. The next moment you are not sure deflated and lack the motivation to do anything.