Pregnancy Isn’t Always Enjoyable
Your mind and body go through a lot during and after pregnancy. Childbirth can cause a wide array of emotions, from elation to anxiety. It can also result in depression. Many new parents experience some “baby blues” following childbirth, which consists of anxiety, sleeping problems, mood swings, and crying spells. However, these usually go away within a few days to two weeks after delivery.
For some new moms, they may experience postpartum depression, which is more severe and lasts longer than baby blues. In rare cases, postpartum psychosis may develop following childbirth. Postpartum depression usually begins within 4 weeks after childbirth. It isn’t a character flaw and it does not mean that you did anything wrong. Postpartum depression is linked to the social, psychological, and chemical changes that can happen while having a baby, and is treatable with therapy and medication.
During pregnancy, your reproductive hormones increase to much higher levels than normal. After you give birth, those hormones drop sharply, so that within 3 days after childbirth, they are back at normal levels. These chemical changes, in addition to how having a baby drastically alters your life, can lead to depression.
Postpartum depression doesn’t just happen to the person who gave birth, but can also affect fathers and adoptive parents, due to the emotional, social, and financial changes that happen after having a baby.
Signs Of Postpartum Depression
It can be hard to detect postpartum depression initially, given that many people experience baby blues following childbirth, which includes symptoms such as:
- Mood swings
- Sleeping difficulties
- Changes in appetite
- Lowered libido
Postpartum depression includes the aforementioned symptoms along with others that are typical of Major Depressive Disorder, and are not typical following childbirth. These include:
- Being uninterested in your baby
- Feeling like you’re not bonding with your baby
- Crying all the time
- Severe anger/irritability
- Loss of pleasure
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feeling worthless or guilty or like you are a bad mother
- Not having energy or motivation
- Eating too much or too little
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Withdrawing from your loved ones
- Memory problems
- Thoughts of hurting others, including your baby
- Thoughts of hurting yourself
- Thoughts of death or suicidal ideations
You should seek out professional help if: you cannot function normally, you cannot cope with daily situations, your symptoms persist past 2 weeks of giving birth, you have thoughts of hurting yourself or your baby, and/or you feel very anxious most of the time.
Treatment Is Available And Recovery Is Possible
There’s no need to suffer. Treatment options are available to help you manage your postpartum depression and recover. Ogden Psychological Services offers traditional counseling, as well as Neurofeedback therapy to help you so that you can enjoy your life again, bond with your baby, and be able to care for yourself and your baby. Getting treatment is a sign of strength and can help you be a better parent.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – This helps a person learn to recognize irrational thought patterns that lead to depressing thoughts, emotions, negative behaviors and outcomes, then construct new rational thought patterns instead of negative ones, thereby lessening the depression.
- Behavioral activation is an approach to mental health that involves someone using behaviors to influence their emotional state. This approach is often used along with CBT.
- Skills Training
- Developing and using positive coping skills
- Problems solving
- Strategic planning and perspective-taking skill development
- Achieving a balanced and healthy lifestyle
- Relaxation training
Neurofeedback For Postpartum Depression
Neurofeedback is a proven treatment for a wide range of issues, including postpartum depression. It helps your brain learn healthy thought patterns to work better and become more regulated. This improves your brain function, which can also improve symptoms of depression.
You’re Not Alone
Postpartum depression is very common. 1 in 9 new mothers experience postpartum depression. Many women don’t tell anyone when they’re experiencing postpartum depression because they feel embarrassed or like it makes them a bad mother. They may feel bad for experiencing depression when they feel like they are supposed to be happy. But anyone can become depressed during pregnancy or after childbirth. It doesn’t make you a bad mom, and you don’t have to suffer alone. There are treatment options available to help.
Postpartum Support At Ogden Psychological Services
If you’re experiencing postpartum depression, the board-certified psychologists at Ogden Psychological Services are here to help. We provide traditional counseling services, including individual therapy, and family therapy, in addition to Neurofeedback. Contact us to learn how we can help you heal.