We heard about the different ways that our moods change after the roller coaster of giving birth.
Now let’s talk about signs you might see in others or in yourself.
- Decreased interest in leaving your home;
- If you find yourself cancelling appointments, coffee dates and get togethers with family or friends, you may be having an increase of anxiety or depression which may in turn be post-partum related. Being sure to find balance in your old life and this new adjustment is a difficult task and often takes trial and error as well as knowing what you and your baby are able to manage.
- Withdrawal from friends and loved ones;
- Often times new mothers who are experiencing post-partum anxiety, depression, and psychosis experience a heightened desire to stay away from those they know and love. There is a fear of being judged, rejected, and unsupported and “found out” often prevents mothers from engaging with their support systems. It is difficult to be around people who are doting and excited about your baby when you may not be as excited and enthused.
- Lack of joy in commonly joyful things;
- There is a societal pressure after the birth of a baby where a mother is supposed to be smiling, happy, exercising, and out walking within days after her new baby arrives. When a women experiences any form of post-partum, the things that used to be exciting and fun, have all of a sudden lost their luster. This does not mean she will not find joy in those things again, she most likely will, but will need some support in getting there, whether it be from a professional, friend, support group, etc.
- Increase in mind-racing thoughts;
- Often times when women experience post partum anxiety, depression and psychosis they have an increase in racing thoughts. Meaning, their minds begin to wonder rapidly about a variety of things. The mind will create delusions, images, ideas that would/could/might happen which heighten the anxiety, prevent mothers from sleeping, and can cause more feelings of isolation and fear, especially when she feels unsafe telling anyone her experiences or thoughts. Finding a safe person to support her, is imperative.
- Increase in feeling unheard/unimportant/unsupported;
- As a culture women are expected to be super-human creatures who can bounce back and still manage to “get-it-all-done”. Even if no-one has actually said this to her, there is an internal expectation that she is not-enough. Women feel and increase in focus on the baby and less of one on themselves, which can be scary when they are the one who is supposed to be caring for and supporting the baby. If a woman asks for help and is made to feel minimized and unimportant, the likelihood of her become post-partum is heightened.
Make sure you get connected to a professional who can help. Support groups or working one on one with someone can make this transition much more manageable.