When It’s More Than Baby Blues

Exhausted. (No sleep. Again!) Overwhelmed. (Ugh. Can’t anyone help me?) Baby won’t stop crying. (What am I doing wrong?)

Guilty feelings. (Am I doing enough?) Impending dread. (Where is THAT thought coming from?) Sadness. (Is this baby blues or postpartum depression?)

Postpartum depression (PPD) is a mood disorder affecting many new mothers. After a baby’s birth, it could pop up in different ways. Here are some possible symptoms:

  • Depressed mood
  • Severe mood swings
  • Crying more than usual
  • Difficulty bonding with your baby
  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Loss of appetite
  • Eating more than usual
  • Can’t sleep, or sleeping too much
  • Overwhelming tiredness
  • Less interest and pleasure in activities you used to enjoy
  • Intensely irritable or angry
  • Fear that you’re not a good mother
  • Hopelessness
  • Worthlessness, shame, guilt or inadequacy
  • Hard time thinking clearly, concentrating or making decisions
  • Restlessness
  • Severe anxiety and panic attacks
  • Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
  • Recurring thoughts of death or suicide

“I’m afraid to be alone with my baby boy. Because I’m so tired, I’m scared I might snap and hurt him.”

Nearly 1 in 4 Native American women will experience postpartum depression after giving birth. Compare that to only 1 in 9 white women who experience PPD. It’s a common occurrence among our people. The expectations of new mothers are high, especially in Native American communities.

If you experience any of the symptoms above, contact your doctor to schedule an appointment. Or if you’re ever in a situation where you’re about to hurt yourself or your baby, text or call the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988. Or call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.

“I feel like such a wreck. Do people think my baby daughter is better off with someone else?”

There are many treatment options available for postpartum depression, including counseling, medication, and support groups. For more information about postpartum depression, visit https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/features/maternal-depression/.