5 Reasons Why Seeking Treatment For Postpartum Depression Is The Right Move

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Symptoms & Signs Of Postpartum Depression & Baby Blues & Why You Need Treatment

Having postpartum depression while trying to care for a newborn baby is a scary thing.

You expected this to be the happiest time in your life. You were finally going to be a mother and everything was going to be perfect.

Unfortunately, for some mothers, feeling depressed after giving birth is a reality. And dealing with the signs of depression can be really, really hard.

RELATED: How To Deal With Postpartum Depression As A Single Mom (From Moms Who’ve Been There)

According to the Mayo Clinic, there are two kinds of depression after childbirth — the baby blues and postpartum depression.

The baby blues generally pass in a few weeks and are characterized by:

  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Sadness
  • Irritability
  • Overwhelm
  • Tears
  • Lack of concentration
  • Poor eating and poor sleeping

Postpartum depression is a different thing completely and is characterized by:

  • Extreme sadness
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Difficulty bonding
  • Withdrawal
  • Loss of appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Loss of energy
  • Hopelessness
  • Inability to focus
  • Thoughts of self-harm

So, now that you know the various depression symptoms to watch out for, how do you know which you are struggling with? Well, there are a few indications:

  • The symptoms don’t fade
  • The symptoms are getting worse
  • You are struggling to take care of your baby
  • You are struggling with everyday tasks

If any of of the things ring true, then you might be struggling with postpartum depression.

So, ask yourself where you are with your depression. Do you have a baby who is a few days old and you have been feeling sad or are you a few months in and having a hard time functioning? Somewhere in between?

Seeking help if you are struggling with the symptoms of depression after having a baby, is very important.

If you feel like you might have postpartum depression after a newborn baby, here are 5 reasons you need to see a doctor and get help.

1. Things are hard enough

Having a newborn baby is really, really hard.

When we leave the hospital, no one hands us a manual about being a parent. Sure, we have been told about the sleepless nights, the bleeding nipples, the messy diapers but until we actually experience those things we have no idea.

When we are struggling with depression on top of all of the challenges of having a newborn, things can become unmanageable quickly.

The best thing that you can do to survive parenting a newborn is managing your moods. If you are depressed, get help immediately so that you can keep yourself healthy and strong in the short and long term.

RELATED: 7 Things Women With Postpartum Depression Need You To Know

2. Things can get worse

It’s hard to believe, with how bad you are feeling right now, that things can get worse but, believe me, they can.

Depression, when left untreated, can only get worse. And, as you sink further into despair and are less able to function, you will have a harder and harder time taking care of your baby and managing household tasks.

And when that happens, your depression will just keep getting worse.

So, if you have been feeling depressed for more than a few days, reach out to your doctor so that you can stop that depression in its tracks. Postpartum depression, when left untreated, can turn into chronic depression which is, let me tell you, not fun.

3. There is an end in sight

If you are feeling depressed with a newborn baby and you get help, there is an end in sight for you. Fortunately, postpartum depression is very treatable and the sooner that it is treated the better.

Depression, if left untreated, can take on a life of its own and become worse with time.

If you talk to your doctor now and start managing your depression, chances are significantly increased that you will get through it and, perhaps, have no further depressive episodes in the future.

4. Your family needs you

Now that you are a mom, everything has changed. You no longer have only yourself to take into consideration. The health of your family is, in many ways, paramount and your happiness makes a big difference.

"When mommy is happy, the family is happy" is a familiar saying you might already know.

Untreated postpartum depression in a mother can have a ripple effect throughout the family. Her partner may be more likely to get depressed or angry or have mood swings.

Furthermore, children of mothers with untreated depression can have issues with emotional development, eating, and sleeping disorders and a tendency towards excessive crying.  And when your child is struggling, your depression will only get worse.

So, if not for yourself, do it for your family. They need you now, more than ever.

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5. There is nothing to be ashamed of

I know, I know, you've probably told yourself that you can tough this out. That you have always been strong and that you can get through this sadness without support.

Or perhaps you are telling yourself that you are weak, that a better woman, a better mother, wouldn’t be feeling this way, wouldn’t be angry at her baby and her husband. Perhaps you are feeling ashamed and worthless

But, your depression is not your fault and it’s not something that you can manage by yourself.

Postpartum depression happens because of acute hormone and lifestyle changes. One minute you are happy and pregnant. But, 24 hours later, after suffering through the most excruciating pain you have ever experienced, you are home with a newborn and have no idea what to do next.

Your hormones are swinging back and forth as your body starts to produce milk and you have no idea whether you will ever sleep again.

There is nothing wrong or shameful about reaching out for help during this difficult time. As a matter of fact, you will demonstrate your strength as a mother if you do step up and advocate for your mental health. 

You will be taking care of yourself which will mean, in turn, that you are taking care of your family.

Struggling with feeling depressed with a newborn baby is not an unusual occurrence.

New mothers are given the double whammy of a huge lifestyle change and fluctuating hormones. Even the strongest mother would struggle to manage this (and there isn’t a man alive who could!).

So, for the sake of your family, for the health of your child, to stop things from getting worse and for making your life easier, reach out to your doctor today for help managing your depression.

You have a new baby — life can be grand. And it's yours for the taking!

RELATED: 5 Ways To Fight Postpartum Depression (& Feel Like Your Awesome Self Again)

Mitzi Bockmann is an NYC-based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. She works with all kinds of people to help them go from depressed and overwhelmed to confident and happy in their relationships and in their world. Email her to get started!

This article was originally published at Let Your Dreams Begin. Reprinted with permission from the author.