HomeWhat Is Postpartum Depression and What to Do About It

What Is Postpartum Depression and What to Do About It

While it’s impossible to ignore the fact that childbirth is a very painful experience, there is still a common opinion that it’s somewhat inspiring, empowering, and transformative. Sometimes, this is actually true, as women who gave birth often note that they entered the happiest times of their lives. However, this isn’t always the case.

Some women wouldn’t agree that childbirth brought them happiness. Quite the opposite, many women go through extreme sadness, hopelessness, and feeling of inadequacy. Moreover, the very fact that they experience such feelings after giving birth may make a woman think about whether or not she’s going to be a good mother, worsening the situation further.

First of all, let’s mention the fact that people feel sad after childbirth more often than you may think. In fact, 60% to 80% of women experience sadness known as “baby blues.” About 13% of women experience particularly severe cases of sadness that turn into postpartum depression.

What is postpartum depression?

Having a baby means riding an emotional rollercoaster. You may feel happy and fulfilled, and in a minute, you may start crying for no obvious reason. This is exactly what people call baby blues, and it is a natural consequence of the pretty stressful experience that childbirth is.

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When giving birth, you deal with numerous hormonal processes in your body, and it needs some time to get back on track. While the majority of women experience baby blues to a certain extent, it usually goes away in a couple of weeks, without any treatment.

However, if you continue to worry about being a terrible parent in a couple of weeks, or your sadness doesn’t go away, that might indicate postpartum depression. This type of depressive disorder is usually diagnosed within 4 to 6 weeks after giving birth.

Unlike regular baby blues, postpartum depression is a serious mental health problem that can have a severe negative impact on many areas of your life. You may not feel connected to your baby, you may have difficulties dealing with your regular daily activities, and the feeling of sadness may get worse with time, leading to suicidal thoughts and self-harm.

Here are some of the most common symptoms of postpartum depression. If you experience any of them for more than 2 weeks after giving birth, it means that you can benefit from depression counseling.

  • Feeling overwhelmed, sad, and hopeless;
  • Having no motivation and energy;
  • Feeling moody or restless;
  • Memory problems;
  • Crying;
  • Changes in appetite;
  • Thoughts of hurting the baby or yourself;
  • Feeling disconnected from the baby;
  • Difficulty falling asleep or oversleeping;
  • Feeling guilty or worthless;
  • Avoiding friends and family;
  • Difficulty making decisions and focusing;
  • Headaches, chest pains, and stomach problems.
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How to treat postpartum depression

Sometimes, postpartum depression goes away on its own within three months. However, it may seriously interfere with your daily activities, and the symptoms may worsen with time, so it’s important to ask for professional help if you need it. In many cases, depression can be treated without medication.

Talk therapy has proven to be effective when treating different kinds of depressive disorders. There are several types of talk therapy, and we’re going to consider them in more detail below. Generally, the treatment process involves talking to a therapist. The therapist may also provide you with different kinds of homework.

Types of depression therapy

Mental health professionals may choose different therapeutic modalities depending on your symptoms and severity. While some types of therapy are short-term and strictly problem-focused, other types may take more time while targeting several issues at once.

Psychodynamic therapy

Sigmund Freud developed his psychoanalytic theory in the 1890s; since then, it has evolved significantly. Psychodynamic therapy is based on the idea that the causes of emotional problems may be suppressed in a person’s unconscious. Therefore, therapy aims to bring things buried deep in your mind back to your consciousness to solve the root cause of the problem.

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Psychodynamic therapy generally takes more time than other modalities from our list because it aims to improve one’s emotional well-being, in general, rather than treating only specific symptoms.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)

This therapeutic modality is used particularly often because it involves short-term treatment and focuses on a specific issue. It has proven effective when dealing with a vast range of mental health problems, and this is one of the most common modalities used to treat depression.

The main idea behind CBT is that unwanted emotions and behaviors stem from unhelpful thinking patterns. Therefore, therapy’s main goal is to identify and challenge these thoughts. CBT is aimed to help a client change these thoughts and behavioral problems that stem from them. Ultimately, a client may replace these thoughts with positive ones, developing a generally healthier mindset.

Interpersonal therapy

This therapeutic modality is often used when treating issues related to relationships. It aims to help clients improve their communication skills and adapt to different social situations. Given the focus of interpersonal therapy, it’s no surprise that the treatment process involves various roleplay exercises.


Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT)

Being rooted in CBT, DBT is usually used when dealing with particularly strong emotions. For instance, this modality can be useful when treating bipolar disorder and other disorders associated with severe mood swings.

Unlike CBT, DBT focuses on changing negative thoughts and seeks a balance between change and acceptance.

Getting therapy for postpartum depression

Although depression can have a severe negative impact on all areas of one’s life, it’s treatable. Moreover, getting depression treatment has never been so easy. While traditional in-person therapy requires you to commute to a therapist’s office, online therapy platforms like Calmerry allow you to get the necessary help from virtually anywhere.

All you have to do is complete a quick questionnaire, and then you’ll get matched with a licensed therapist from your state within an hour. You can send unlimited text messages or schedule video calls in advance, balancing mental health, work, and family responsibilities.

Depression can get worse when left untreated, so if you’re experiencing symptoms of postpartum depression, don’t hesitate to reach out for help.

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