Having a baby is a big adventure that brings joy to many parents. But it can also come with a lot of stress, uncertainty, sleep deprivation, and hormones that are all over the place. In the time after birth, many birthing parents and their partners experience postpartum depression in one form or another.
If you’re worried that you might hurt yourself or your baby, seek help right away. In an emergency, call 911. You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988. If you’re wondering if you or a loved one might be suffering from postpartum depression, find out more about detecting it, and find resources to help.
Baby blues, postpartum depression, and postpartum psychosis exist on a spectrum. Most new parents who have just given birth will experience the baby blues in some form. These mild symptoms often start a few days after birth and may last a week or two. Postpartum depression is more severe, and it should be taken seriously. Postpartum psychosis is rare but very serious, and it requires immediate treatment.
According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms vary in intensity between the three types of postpartum depression. Here are some to watch for.
Crying too much
Panic attacks or severe anxiety
Withdrawing from loved ones
Insomnia or sleeping too much
Severe mood swings or depressed moods
Intense irritability or anger
Thoughts of harming your baby or yourself
Overwhelming tiredness or loss of energy
Thoughts of death or suicide
Obsessive thoughts about your baby
Having too much energy and feeling upset
Hallucinating and having delusions
Feeling confused and lost
Attempting to harm yourself or your baby
The signs and symptoms of the three types of postpartum depression can seem similar. The biggest difference is in the severity of symptoms, the amount that they impact your life, or the length of time that you feel the effects.
But it’s important to remember: if you’re struggling, it doesn’t matter what type of postpartum depression you’re dealing with. Help is out there for you.
Even if you think you are just dealing with the baby blues, it’s still a good idea to bring your symptoms up with your care provider, either with a phone call or in your next scheduled appointment. If your symptoms are more severe or are impacting your ability to care for yourself or your child, seek help from your medical team right away.
Symptoms can come up even a year after birth. If you notice any symptoms on the CDC’s list of urgent maternal warning signs, seek help immediately. But even if you think your postpartum symptoms are impacting your life, bring them up with your provider. They will be able to monitor, provide resources, and track your health as you get further from delivery.
In an emergency, call 911. You can also contact trained crisis counselors by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988. Postpartum Support International has a toll-free helpline that you can contact at 1-800-944-4773. You can find out more about post-birth mental health from the Mom’s Mental Health Matters page from the US Department of Health and Human Services. And through the HRSA, you can access the National Maternal Mental Health Hotline by calling 1-833-943-5746. The Policy Center for Maternal Mental Health has more resources available, too.
Your provider is always there to give you support as well. And the Parents as Teachers program through Community Health Partners can also offer a touchpoint for new parents in Park County and West Yellowstone. You don’t have to suffer through postpartum depression alone. Reach out, and find a helping hand.