It’s normal to feel a wide range of emotions after giving birth. Many women experience the ‘baby blues’, often in the first week or so after delivery. These feelings are usually temporary, but some new mothers do not get better. Postpartum depression is diagnosed if a woman experiences the following symptoms nearly every day for two weeks to the extent that they interfere with her ability to care for herself or her child(ren):
Postpartum depression can make an already challenging time of life extremely difficult. Seek help as soon as you or your partner recognize that you may be suffering from postpartum depression.
If the postpartum depression is very mild, you may be able to engage in various coping strategies to start recovering:
For some women, this may be enough. A more severe depression is not normal and does require urgent medical assessment and care, including counseling and/or medication.
If you or your partner notice that you are having signs of depression, it’s important to get help right away. Don’t wait for things to get better. Talk to your doctor, nurse, midwife, or other trusted health care provider. Talk about what is happening to your family or friends. There are often many resources available in the community to help new mothers with postpartum depression. If you are having scary thoughts about harming yourself or your baby, call 911 or your local crisis hotline.