What exactly happens with post pardum depression and how long can it last?

Bethany - posted on 03/16/2010 ( 11 moms have responded )




Ever since i had my son in october its like i dont care what i look like i dont care if i get fat i dont care about being clean.. I mean i keep my home clean and take care of my son but when it comes to me.. I just dont care.. I dont want sex.. i dont want affection from my boyfriend. Whats wrong with me?! I have to basically drag myself around to do things like shower and get out of my sweats and into "real" clothes! Help!


Jeanette - posted on 03/18/2010




oh i felt exactly the same - i did find that forcing myself to go out and get a haircut - go get a manicure - anything - and made sure i got out of the house everyday - i let my mom and aunt babysit once in a while when i didn't need them too but just to get a break - and finally 8-9mos after giving birth i decided when it comes to sex i'll fake it till i make it kind of attitude - don't misunderstand, the husband knows i don't feel like it but to give up some of my time to our relationship helped me get back in the swing of enjoying his company again and out of my own head a bit - i really miss him but was so wrapped up in how down i was feeling i kept pushing him away (not just sexually) -
i am feeling really good now but i am going to go make an appt with someone and see about talking about depression at least
if you find you can't dig yourself out or it is just too much with the baby then don't be afraid to go see a doc - even start with calling your ob/gyn for a recommendation - it can't hurt
good luck to you

Kelsey - posted on 03/18/2010




I gave birth in February and I feel the same way you do. Sometimes I even forget to eat because I just don't care. I feel like it might be starting to affect my milk supply. I'm dealing with a lot of anxiety (i've had a history of anxiety and depression as well) and i'm dealing with random crying and anger (mostly towards my husband for not always being at home when things get too stressed for me). I find it hard to get myself in the shower too, my husband is great and helps me get motivated to take a shower and he will take care of the baby. I find that the more often I take a shower the better I feel and the better my mood is. Ask your boyfriend to help motivate you to take showers at least every two days, may sound embarrassing but I think your boyfriend would rather help motivate you to shower then smell you after three or four days of not lol My husband seems to want sex ALL the time and im just like OMG i don't even have time to breath let alone have sex. Now that the weather is changing I've actually ventured OUTSIDE! hahaha but seriously the sunshine is a natural anti-depressant. Take advantage of sunshine and go for a walk or open a window when the sun is shining through it and breath the fresh air and mediate there for 10-30 minutes. You'll be surprised at how much the sun makes you feel better. My doctor put me on Zoloft and I'm going to see a therapist. I think you should talk with your doctor about your problem and be completely honest, I had a really hard time admitting that I was feeling this way and that I needed help. I felt like a failure that I was struggling with this. I've read that the "baby blues" only last for two weeks or so and it seems like your feelings have lasted well beyond that. Talk to your doctor and see what your options are.

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Danielle - posted on 08/25/2012




i am going through the same thing right now so you are not alone. i have had two children. and this time around i cry alot. but at the same time i feel better know that i am not a lone and that there are other moms that do understand what is going on

Pia - posted on 03/21/2011




Go and see a doctor. Postnatal depression doesn't just resolve itself and it's horrible for you, your partner and your kids. It's amazing how much just acknowledging it and joining a support group can help you feel a lot better about life. It doesn't fix you, but it's a step:)

Amina - posted on 03/21/2011




i feel the same but different way i feel like my partner dont love me any more i feel fat and ugly i dont like going out coz people talk behind my back i dont want to talk to anyone they wouldnt understand me this cant be happening i am always having a rows with my partner my life has change since i got pregnant with my third baby maybe he really hates me i dont know

Lisa - posted on 03/18/2010




Thank you for the article Andrea!!! My baby was born in August. I was able to go sometimes 4 days without showering and sometimes 8 days straight of eating just a cracker a day only! I can go weeks without seeing daylight and months without driving at all! Bethany, you are not alone!

Andrea - posted on 03/18/2010




Here is some info:

Researchers have identified three types of postpartum depression: baby blues; postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis.

The "baby blues" is the most minor form of postpartum depression. It usually starts 1 to 3 days after delivery, and is characterized by weeping, irritability, lack of sleep, mood changes and a feeling of vulnerability. These "blues" can last several weeks. It's estimated that between 50% and 80% of mothers experience them.

Postpartum depression is more debilitating than the "blues." Women with this condition suffer despondency, tearfulness, feelings of inadequacy, guilt, anxiety, irritability and fatigue. Physical symptoms include headaches, numbness, chest pain and hyperventilation. A woman with postpartum depression may regard her child with ambivalence, negativity or disinterest. An adverse effect on the bonding between mother and child may result. Because this syndrome is still poorly defined and under studied, it tends to be under reported. Estimates of its occurrence range from 3% to 20% of births. The depression can begin at any time between delivery and 6 months post-birth, and may last up to several months or even a year.

Postpartum psychosis is a relatively rare disorder. The symptoms include extreme confusion, fatigue, agitation, alterations in mood, feelings of hopelessness and shame, hallucinations and rapid speech or mania. Studies indicate that it affects only one in 1000 births.

Causes and risk factors

The exact cause of postpartum depression is not known. One factor may be the changes in hormone levels that occur during pregnancy and immediately after childbirth. Also, when the experience of having a child does not match the mother's expectations, the resultant stress can trigger depression. Studies have also considered the possible effects of maternal age, expectations of motherhood, birthing practices and the level of social support for the new mother.

There is no one trigger; postpartum depression is believed to result from many complex factors. It is important, however, to communicate to women with postpartum depression that they did not bring it upon themselves.

One certain fact is that women who have experienced depression before becoming pregnant are at higher risk for postpartum depression. Women in this situation should discuss it with their doctor so that they may receive appropriate treatment, if required. In addition, an estimated 10% to 35% of women will experience a recurrence of postpartum depression.

The amount of sick leave taken during pregnancy and the frequency of medical consultation may also be warning signs. Women who have the most doctor visits during their pregnancy and who also took the most sick-leave days have been found to be most likely to develop postpartum depression. The risk increases in women who have experienced 2 or more abortions, or women who have a history of obstetric complications.

Other factors which increase the risk of postpartum depression are severe premenstrual syndrome (PMS), a difficult relationship, lack of a support network, stressful events during the pregnancy or after delivery.

How is postpartum depression treated?

Therapy, support networks and medicines such as antidepressants are used to treat postpartum depression. Psychotherapy has been shown to be an effective treatment, and an acceptable choice for women who wish to avoid taking medications while breastfeeding.

Coping with postpartum depression

First, remember that you are not alone - up to 20% of new mothers experience postpartum depression. Equally important is remembering that you are not to blame. Here are some suggestions for coping:

Focus on short-term, rather than long-term goals. Build something to look forward to into every day, such as a walk, a bath, a chat with a friend
Look for free or inexpensive activities; check with your local library, community centre or place of worship
Spend time with your partner and/or close friends
Share your feelings and ask for help
Consult your doctor and look for a local support group
If you think a friend or family member is suffering from postpartum depression, offer your support and reassurance. You may be able to direct them towards useful sources of information about postpartum depression. Easing the isolation they feel is an important step.

Where to go for more information

For further information about postpartum depression, contact a community organization like the Canadian Mental Health Association to find out about support and resources in your community. On the internet, go to: www.cmha.ca.


Kerri - posted on 03/18/2010




i have been the same way after each of my children and left it a long time before going to the doctors,it only got worse for me over time. i did need medication to help me although i only needed them for 6 months then i was ok enough to come off them. i would go to your doctor they may give you medication all the best

Dianne - posted on 03/17/2010




Part of it could be the adjustment to providing baby care 24/7. The lack of sleep can really do a number on you. On the other hand, 6 months is a long time to be struggling with this. Please consider making an appointment with your Health Care Provider. There are many reasons for feeling this way, and a Dr can help. The treatment may be a simple one, so don't wait. Your baby and BF both need you to be feeling well. These feelings interfere with your joy of life. I'll keep you in my prayers:)

[deleted account]

I went thru exactly that! You need to go and talk to ur doctor because if you can't see a way to fix things urself then you may need medication temporarily!

At the time when I was feeling the way you are I didn't have much support......we had just moved into the area so we didn't really know anyone and both my boyfriend parents and my family were 4 hours away! It sucked.......I decided not to go on medication but instead I moved back home......LOL! I struggled for a couple months once I was back but we've adjusted and although I still have rough days it's WAY better!

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