Postpartum depression is a psychological issue that can have a serious impact on the person experiencing the depression. Feeling the “baby blues” (anxiety, mood swings, sadness, crying spells) after giving birth is common a day or two after delivery. Postpartum depression usually occurs within weeks of giving birth but can also begin months or longer after your baby was born and is severe and long-lasting. It can strike those who had a happy pregnancy and had a non-traumatic childbirth and can have a negative impact on the mother’s mental health and the relationship with her baby.
Symptoms & signs of postpartum depression
- Inability to get out of bed, although you’re physically fine
- Seeing the world as dark and dismal
- Feeling as though your child would be better off without you
- Feeling helpless or out of control
- Thoughts of suicide, self-harm, or harming your child
- Challenges bonding with your baby
- Severe mood swings
- Excessive crying
- Withdrawing from others
- Eating too little or overeating
- Sleeping issues (too much or too little)
- Extreme fatigue
- Feeling anxious about your ability to be a good parent
When is it time to get help?
Parenting a new baby comes with many challenges – dealing with postpartum depression should not be one of them. You may feel depressed or embarrassed about seeking help but it’s important that you do. If you (or someone close to you) feels that your “baby blues” symptoms are severe, lasting longer than a couple of weeks, or are worsening, it’s time to get help.
NOTE: postpartum psychosis is a rare but severe condition that usually develops shortly after the birth of your baby.
Symptoms & signs of postpartum psychosis include:
- Hallucinations (visual and auditory)
- Obsessive thoughts about the baby
- Extreme irritability
- Attempts to harm the baby or yourself
If you believe that you or someone close to you is experiencing postpartum psychosis, please seek help immediately. Call 911 or proceed to your nearest emergency room. For immediate help outside of our office hours, throughout Alberta, please call 211 or one of the following distress lines:
- Edmonton: The Crisis Centre call 780 482 HELP (4357)
- Greater Edmonton region: Rural Distress Line at 1-800-232-7288.
- Calgary: 403 266 HELP (4357)
Postpartum depression treatment methods
There are several effective treatment methods for dealing with postpartum depression. Your therapist will discuss with you the best options for your individual circumstance. Some treatment methods that are typically successful in treating postpartum depression include:
- Acceptance and commitment therapy encourages clients to accept the difficulties and misfortunes of life. Clients learn coping techniques to not dwell on negative emotions by staying in the present.
- Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based approach to treatment that focuses on how people’s thoughts, emotions, and beliefs influence their behaviour and how they perceive themselves.
- Cognitive therapy is a form of therapy that focuses on cognition of an individual, through their individualistic perception, reasoning skills, thought patterns, and their ability to make rational and concrete judgments.
What will I get out of treatment with Insight Psychological?
If you are suffering from postpartum or any other type of depression, or believe that a loved one is, please do not wait to seek support. The effects of postpartum depression can be temporary and are treatable. Insight can help you to cope with and eliminate the symptoms of postpartum depression and we can provide you with couples and/or family therapy if needed.
Insight Psychological has offices in cities across Alberta to support you with in-person, online video, or telephone counselling. Please contact us today.