It’s no secret that women are at the mercy of their hormones. Pregnant women and women who have just given birth are especially susceptible to mood swings and bouts of seemingly unprovoked tears. So, how does a woman know when it’s time to seek medical attention?
When a woman gives birth she goes through an entire kaleidoscope of emotions. Her body’s chemicals are adjusting, her entire lifestyle has changed and her self-image is trying to adjust to all the challenges and feelings that come with giving birth. It’s not only that she feels overwhelmed and has doubts about her ability to do what she needs to do. The lack of sleep alone is enough to cause severe mood changes and feelings of sadness.
All of this is only natural. Becoming a mom doesn’t just come with warm and fuzzy feelings, whether this is your first child or one of many. Every woman is different and every instance of childbirth she goes through is going to be different. It’s important to learn when the feelings you have are something to be medically concerned with and when they are just part of the process of giving birth.
The biggest indicator that there is actually a medical problem is time. Immediately following birth, the chemicals of a woman’ body seem to have a mind of their own. It can feel like an intense version of your worst PMS. And, for a few days, maybe even a few weeks, this is entirely normal. It’s when it goes beyond this time period that you need to get concerned.
If you’ve been feeling sad for an extended period of time, have a lack of energy that early morning feedings just can’t explain or have thoughts of harming yourself or your baby, it’s time to talk to your doctor. There is no shame in this. It’s not your fault. It is vital to address the issue so that you can get back to feeling good and enjoy your new family member. Keep in mind that a small percentage of women who suffer from post-partum depression will develop post-partum psychosis, so this is not an issue to avoid dealing with. If post-partum depression isn’t addressed and dealt with, it can literally last for years and have life altering consequences. Talk to your doctor today if you are experiencing symptoms of post-partum depression.