When you think about the signs of postpartum depression, some more common symptoms may come to mind. You probably think of a pregnant or new mom in despair, sadness, and tears. While those are most definitely symptoms of PPD, there are other signs you may not be aware of.
Women often overlook signs of postpartum depression because they think they “should” be able to handle life after childbirth. They may have a lofty ideal in their minds of snuggling with their newborn, perfectly content and joyous. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case and is the product of diaper commercials, Hollywood movies, and TV shows.
The fact is, 1 in 7 women experience PPD. 50% of those women go undiagnosed, most likely because they are afraid to admit they don’t fit the “ideal” or mistake their symptoms for “being hormonal.”
To ensure you spot the signs of postpartum depression, you need to understand all the possible symptoms, not just the ones that come to mind. Some of them may surprise you.
1. Anger & Irritability
One of the most surprising symptoms of PPD you may not identify as a symptom is anger. When you have postpartum depression, you may be highly irritable. Many new moms describe the level of anger as rage.
If you experience this symptom, you may get angry and irritated at everything. Maybe you feel overwhelmingly mad at your partner, other children, or even your baby. The rage you feel with PPD may make you want to throw things and yell at everyone and everything.
Sound familiar? Have you chalked it up to “hormones”? Be careful because anger and irritability are commonly overlooked symptoms of PPD.
2. Brain Fog
While pregnant, you can blame “pregnancy brain” for things like forgetting what you’re doing, losing things, or completely spacing on peoples’ names. But what about after pregnancy? When if all of those things have gotten worse?
Forgetfulness, the inability to concentrate, and misplacing things are known as “brain fog” and is another overlooked symptom of PPD. When you have postpartum depression, it’s very likely your working memory, which helps you process information, and your short-term memory becomes impaired.
So if you find yourself missing appointments, forgetting once-easily-recalled-information, and losing stuff, it could be a sign of postpartum depression.
3. Changes in Eating
While breastfeeding moms need more calories to nourish their babies properly, frequently eating past the point of fullness is one of the signs of postpartum depression people often ignore.
This symptom of PPD is tricky to attribute to depression because new moms tend to eat a lot. But postpartum depression could also make you eat a lot less too. If you notice significant weight loss or gain after giving birth, it may be PPD. It’s important not to shrug it off and seek help for postpartum depression.
4. Intrusive Thoughts
One of the signs of postpartum depression that may catch you off guard is when you find yourself having intrusive, disturbing thoughts. Of course, you love your baby, but when you have postpartum depression, thoughts about harming your baby or picking up and leaving everyone behind could sneak up on you.
You may push these thoughts aside, thinking you’re just overtired, but these types of thoughts are a big red flag of postpartum depression.
It’s crucial to note that just because you have these intrusive thoughts does not make you a bad mother. Unfortunately, they are a common symptom of PPD. Also, having these thoughts doesn’t mean you’re going to act on them.
Don’t be ashamed to talk to a trusted support person like your partner, a close friend, or a family member about these thoughts. Getting the help you need as soon as possible is crucial so you no longer have to battle these thoughts.
5. Trouble Bonding With Your Baby
Perhaps you thought it would be easy to connect with your newborn. You thought you’d instantly bond and become inseparable. But if you have postpartum depression, this may be far from your reality. Instead, you feel resentful of them and have no interest in trying to bond.
If this sounds like you, don’t blame yourself. It’s not your fault. Postpartum depression is the culprit of this unfortunate lack of interest in your baby. The good news is that when you get help for postpartum depression, you won’t feel like this anymore.
You may think women with PPD are incredibly emotional. They’re sad, angry, irritable, and cry frequently. That can be true, but that’s not always the case. One of the surprising signs of postpartum depression is a feeling of emptiness.
You’re living each day simply going through the motions, feeling numb to all emotion inside. Whether it’s your baby, spouse, other children, friends, or once-loved activities, you can’t muster up enthusiasm, joy, excitement, or love.
Feeling disconnected in this feeling of numbness is a symptom of PPD, and you should seek treatment as soon as possible
It’s no secret that becoming a new parent means you will be exhausted for a while. Newborns’ sleep schedules don’t exactly allow you to get the proper amount of sleep each night.
But if you have postpartum depression, you can’t seem to sleep, no matter how tired you are. Not only is this a terrible way to feel, but it can also be dangerous. While not many people may think of insomnia as a symptom of PPD, it most certainly is.
8. Physical symptoms
Of course, you’ll deal with some physical recovery after giving birth. But believe it or not, one of the signs of postpartum depression is not feeling well physically.
PPD can present in headaches, backaches, upset stomachs, or muscle aches. If you feel horrible weeks and months after having your baby, it could be a sign of postpartum depression, and you should contact your doctor for postpartum depression treatment.
Don’t Fight the Signs of Postpartum Depression Alone
Thousands of women experience postpartum depression. You’re not alone, and it’s not something you should be ashamed of. PPD is a serious mental illness that is 100% treatable. If you are in the San Diego area, look no further than our postpartum depression treatment options at BOLD Health.
We’ve partnered with hundreds of moms like you to help them overcome their symptoms of PPD so they can enjoy their time with their babies. Our extensive team of experienced mental health experts includes therapists and psychiatrists who will meet you where you are in your journey to recovery from postpartum depression.
Our postpartum depression treatment options include:
- individual therapy
- group therapy
- intensive outpatient program (IOP) for postpartum depression
- medication management.
No two journeys through PPD are the same. That’s why we take the time to get to know you, taking into account your genetic, biological, and structural makeup to curate the best treatment plan for you effectively.