Every new mother has been to the doctor or pediatrician and filled out the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale. Many mothers “pass” that test without issue. So, they may feel as they “must not” have a postpartum mood disorder even though something feels off for them. I often have clients tell me they “definitely didn’t” have a postpartum mood disorder because they would never hurt their babies. Mama, as someone that offers therapy for mothers, I see you and hear you! But, it is so much more than that!
It is normal for you to feel sleep-deprived. It’s like your world has been turned upside down, and like you have no idea what is happening in those early days. Some experiences, thoughts, and feelings move beyond healthy adjustment to newborn life. These may become a perinatal mood disorder.
Most mothers are familiar with postpartum depression. But, many people don’t know that these mood disorders often start in the third trimester. They can include postpartum anxiety, OCD, Bipolar, Psychosis, or a hybrid mood disorder. Experts say that 1 in 5 women have a postpartum mood disorder and who knows the number of undiagnosed women. Postpartum mood disorders are the number one pregnancy complication.
What’s Normal and What’s Not?
The following behaviors, thoughts, and feelings are considered within normal limits.
- Periods of weepiness, dread, regret, and depression for the first 2 weeks postpartum
- Lack of sleep due to newborn feedings and lack of baby sleeping
- Fear about the future in general for you and your child
- Wanting to reach out for support OR wanting to isolate in the early days
On the other hand, some of the following behaviors, thoughts, and feelings could be considered indicative of perinatal mood disorder. These should be explored further with a therapist or doctor.
- Inability to sleep when you have the opportunity
- Scary thoughts or visuals involving your child
- Ruminating anxious or negative thoughts
- Feels of depression, dread, and hopelessness that last longer than 2 weeks postpartum
- Specific, irrational fears about something with your baby
You are Not Alone!
Perinatal mood disorders are COMMON and have solutions! Foundations Family Therapy and other licensed therapists in your area are trained to help you. They can help turn the infant stage into a treasured time instead of a difficult one.
We have a course designed to help especially new parents! This course will give you PRACTICAL tips to thrive during the postpartum period.
Click here to access our FREE resources for new parents!