The birth of a new baby brings joy and wonder into our lives. But for many women, the first days and weeks after delivery are mentally and emotionally challenging. This is a result of the massive hormonal changes her body is going through.
On top of these extreme hormonal shifts, there is the serious sleep deprivation and the cultural expectations new mothers feel to instantly bond with their babies and be “good enough.” All of this pressure can lead to some pretty difficult emotions.
While a majority of women experience a mild depression, called the “baby blues,” roughly 5% of women will suffer a major depressive episode that can be accompanied by severe anxiety and even panic attacks.
Are you wondering if your partner is suffering from postpartum depression? Here are 5 signs to watch for:
1. She’s Feeling Guilty
Does she often mention her feelings of guilt about not doing a better job? Is she putting too much pressure on herself to be perfect right out of the gate?
2. She Finds Little Comfort in Reassurance
It’s natural for a new mother to feel a bit anxious about the job she’s doing. But with post-partum depression, the anxiety can feel overwhelming, and even gentle reassurances from partners, parents and other loved ones bring little relief. In fact, some women even feel they are being lied to or patronized.
3. She’s Losing Interest in Certain Things
Post-partum depression is like other forms of depression in that the person will lose interest in activities they once enjoyed. Your partner may no longer find the same things interesting or fun. She may also lose her appetite and interest in sex.
4. She Doesn’t Want to be Around the Baby
It’s normal for a new mother to want others to help her care for the baby in those first few weeks. But when a new mother shows no interest in her baby and refuses to spend time with them, that is a sign that something more serious is going on. While it is hard to imagine, post-partum depression can cause women to feel no affection, and at times, even disdain, for their own baby.
5. Thoughts of Harming Herself or the Baby
If your partner mentions that you and the baby would be better off without her, or that she feels there is something very wrong with the baby, these are signs that must be taken seriously and immediately acted upon. According to studies, suicide is the second leading cause of death in postpartum women.
If your partner is showing one or more of these signs, it’s important to get her help. A therapist may prescribe medication and offer tools and techniques that will help her manage her symptoms.
If you or someone you know would like to explore treatment options, please get in touch with me. I would be more than happy to discuss how I may be able to help.