Many women report feeling as if their emotions are on a roller coaster after the birth of a child. Moods and symptoms can change frequently for no apparent reason. Some put off getting treatment because they think they days that they feel good are an indication that "things are getting better". In fact, this is the normal progression of the disorder.
Family history of perinatal mood disorders
Previous pregnancy with a perinatal mood disorder
High need for control
Low tolerance for chaos/disorganization
Difficult childhood situations
Health scare regarding the baby (NICU stay, etc.)
Depression and Anxiety During Pregnancy
Although we may think of postpartum depression as only happening after childbirth, just as many women become depressed during pregnancy. Most women assume that it will pass after the baby is born-often the opposite is true. By recognizing the symptoms and getting help during your pregnancy, you may be able to avoid depression and anxiety after childbirth.
Anxiety is more common than depression. Sometimes depression occurs as a result of the anxiety. Only about 10% of women have true postpartum depression.
Perinatal mood disorder is different from other forms of depression because:
- Good and bad days are common.
- There is usually a difficult period daily.
- Mood swings are wider
- Irritability is higher
- Women often feel they are overreacting and cannot stop it.
- The tendency to worry more is present especially with repetitive themes such as safety, death, "something bad will happen."
- Feelings toward the baby and/or other family members are blunted or become detached.
- Feeling overwhelmed by the change in indentity.
- Questioning your abilities and instincts as a mother.
- Questioning why you had a baby.
- Feeling like you want to "run away from home"
- Not being able to sleep when the baby sleeps
If not addressed, postpartum depression can become a lifelong illness.
Clients commonly report the following:
- More trust in their instincts as a mother
- Ability to enjoy this precious and fleeting time with their baby.
- More enjoyment, less worry
- Reduction or elimination of the need for medication.
- More confidence with their mothering style.
- Ability to be present now and worry less about past or future issues.
- Feeling less guilt.
- Improved partner relationship.
- Increased joy and attachment to their baby.
- More comfort and confidence with the lifestyle choices being made.
- More laughter
- Clarity about priorities.
- Increased confidence in their ability to handle whatever comes their way.
- Acceptance of who they are, who their baby is.
- Decreased need to be the "perfect" mother.