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Recognizing and Coping with Postpartum Depression and Postpartum Mood Disorder (PPMD)

Updated: Jun 23


Postpartum depression is a common mental health issue experienced by new mothers. It is recognized by feelings of sadness, anxiety, and hopelessness that can persist for weeks or months after giving birth sometimes longer. The following are some things that you can try to help you cope.


First let's start with recognizing the symptoms as they range from minor to severe.




Signs of both Exhaustion and Baby Blues (Can begin to show within the first 4-5 days - 2 weeks after giving birth):


Minor/Moderate Symptoms to look out for typically categorized as "Baby Blues" include:

  • Mood Swings

  • Irritability

  • Sadness

  • Trouble making decisions

  • Changes in appetite

  • Weepiness

  • Feeling like you cannot cope

  • Extreme Fatigue

  • Inability to sleep


***If the above listed symptoms above last longer than 2 weeks it is important to speak to someone who you know and trust to confide in who can give you the help and support you need.


The following symptoms may appear in a more Severe cases:

  • Hopelessness

  • Apathy/Inertia

  • Lack of joy

  • Racing thoughts

  • Panic attacks

  • Extreme crying

  • Not wanting to be alone with the baby

  • Visions or extreme fear of harm coming to baby

  • Obsessive thoughts or actions

**IF YOU ARE EXPERIENCING ANY OR MOST OF THESE SYMPTOMS THAT DO NOT IMPROVE AFTER TWO WEEKS, THESE CAN BE SIGNS OF PPMD OR PPD AND REQUIRE ATTENTION AND CARE. PLEASE, REACH OUT TO SOMEONE YOU TRUST FOR HELP.


What can I do if me or someone I know is showing symptoms?


1. Call your doctor: Your doctor can help you understand your symptoms and recommend appropriate treatment, recommend therapy, medication or holistic sources to help you cope.

If you are a friend or family member recognizing the symptoms of a loved one, you can be there for emotional and physical support. Offer encouragement to the birthing person so they feel loved and supported in making the decision to understand and speak to a professional. For instance, you can offer to help make the phone call and be present in the discussion if they are having a hard time expressing their feelings, and offer to drive them to their appointment scheduled for that day.


2. Therapy can help you work through your feelings, thoughts and help you come up with coping strategies that you can do at home. Different types of therapy to look into are: cognitive-behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, and psychoanalysis and can be further recommended by a therapist which route of treatment is best for you.


3. Self-care: It's important to take care of yourself physically and emotionally. Make time for rest, gentle exercise, and activities that bring you joy. Eating a healthy diet and staying hydrated can also be helpful.


4. Support groups: Joining a support group to connect and find mothers who are dealing with similar struggles helps us to not feel alone. You can find local support groups through your hospital, community center, or online.


5. Practice Mindfulness: Meditation and deep breathing techniques can help reduce anxiety and promote relaxation. There are many free resources available online especially for beginners to start.


6. Hire a Postpartum doula: A postpartum doula can provide emotional and physical support during the early weeks and months after the baby is born for the birthing person and the family. They can help with tasks such as feeding, diaper changes, and household chores, which can relieve stress and provide you with the time needed to focus on your recovery. For friends and family to gift this type of care to a new mom postpartum is also the greatest gift that you can give. You can find local Doulas through your doctor, local hospital, on sites like Doula Match or even google search doulas in your area.


7. Medication: In some cases, medication may be a necessary way to manage symptoms of postpartum depression. Contact your doctor to discuss and determine if this can be the right option for you.



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