Seeing light through the clouds: Symptoms of postpartum depression

Having a baby not only brings a lot of joy, but also many challenges. Many mothers are unable to feel this joy because they are not aware they are suffering postpartum depression. It is important to identify it in order to begin healing.

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  • Published in Bebés by Denhi Chaney on October 5, 2013

  • Translated and adapted by Anders Peterson from the original article “¿Puede ser que tenga depresión pos-parto? (primera parte)” by Denhi Chaney

  • Having a baby is a unique experience. It changes us completely, not only in our feelings but also our thoughts. Nevertheless, these changes do not happen without consequences. While many women face difficulties, others do not feel these challenges. It is absolutely true that we feel great love for our baby, but for some reason, sometimes we do not feel happiness. In some cases, we cannot care for them the way we would like because of a lack of energy and motivation.

  • Most women find it difficult acknowledging postpartum depression symptoms because they think that their fatigue and other signs may be normal due to the lack of sleep. It is important to identify which symptoms are more serious than fatigue. This will motivate us to do something about it in order to be happier women and mothers. The following are some ways to identify postpartum depression:

  • 1. You feel excessive fatigue

  • It is normal to feel tired when we only have three hours of sleep. However, when this fatigue does not allow us to get out of bed, we must know that this is not normal. When our fatigue is so great that it prevents us from caring for our baby, it is time to evaluate our physical condition.

  • 2. You experience extreme emotions

  • Usually, mothers may feel sad or irritable due to fatigue or hormonal changes during the day. Nevertheless, when we feel sudden unexplainable sadness, anger, frustration, hate, distance from our baby and lack of happiness and joy, then we may be experiencing postpartum depression.

  • 3. You can’t sleep

  • Because the fatigue that mothers experience during the first months is extreme, it is normal to see a mother asleep when an opportunity arises. However, when it is impossible for you to rest when your baby is sleeping or even when you have the chance to catch up on sleep, then this may be a symptom of postpartum depression. It is difficult to find signs of depression without certain levels of anxiety. This may be causing your difficulty to sleep.

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  • 4. You acquire an irregular appetite

  • Each woman is different. However, when your appetite changes drastically; whether you eat almost nothing or you overeat, it is time to decide if you need to seek help. Your weight will be an indicator of this during the first three months after childbirth. You should consult a doctor if your weight is dropping or increasing quickly.

  • It is important to mention that if you are suffering postpartum depression, you should be going through the majority of these characteristics. In addition, all these characteristics should be preventing you from caring for and enjoying your baby although you may have the desire to do it well. If you suspect that this is the case, you should see your doctor. Here are more signs of postpartum depression.

  • The important thing to know is that this won’t last forever, and there are ways to help you finally enjoy your baby the way you have always wanted.

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Denhi Chaney has a master's degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. Denhi is also a wife and mother of a child.

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