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Feeling Blue?

Is it postpartum depression or just the baby blues? Read this even if it's not for you.

Fact. 1 in 7 women have depression in the year after they give birth.

Fact. Up to 50% of individuals with postpartum depression never get diagnosed.

Fact. Women who have 1 episode of postpartum depression have a 50% higher chance of having it again.

Fact. Only 15% of those women diagnosed ever receive treatment.

This means that approximately 850,000 women are not getting the support that they need. We are a community of moms. It is essential that you know the symptoms of postpartum depression so that you can identify it in yourself or a fellow mom.

Women of every age, culture and income level can experience postpartum depression. It is the most common problem associated with childbirth.

There is a difference between postpartum depression and baby blues. Baby blues begin in the first few days of delivery and are typically gone within two weeks. Symptoms include:

  • Crying for no apparent reason
  • Impatience
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Anxiety
  • Sadness
  • - mood changes

Postpartum depression symptoms can start anytime during pregnancy or the first year postpartum. They differ for everyone, and might include the following:

  • Feelings of anger or irritability
  • Lack of interest in the baby
  • Appetite and sleep disturbance
  • Crying and sadness
  • Feelings of guilt, shame or hopelessness
  • Loss of interest, joy or pleasure in things you used to enjoy
  • Possible thoughts of harming the baby or yourself

(Source: Postpartum Support International)

It's difficult to know if you are experiencing the blues or depression when you are dealing with the normal exhaustion and overwhelm of motherhood. Even if you have never had depression before, it can strike you. It's perplexing to many moms because this is supposed to be such a happy time in their life. The exhaustion, hormonal factors and changes in life may overshadow that happiness. Please take this very seriously as you or your baby may be at risk. Suicide accounts for 20% of postpartum death and is the second most common cause of mortality in postpartum women. If it's not you, it could be one of your fellow moms. We need to look out for each other. Don't let any mom feel alone. Invite all moms in to our circle and help get them the help that they need.

There may be a local postpartum support group in your area. Ask your doctor. Or, go to PSI International for support groups and area coordinators.

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