The Symptoms of Postpartum Depression & Anxiety (in Plain Mama English)

The Symptoms of Postpartum Depression and Anxiety -PostpartumProgress.com
What does it feel like to have postpartum depression or postpartum anxiety?  What are the signs or symptoms? How do you know when you have it? And if you do have it, what should you do?

Below we will explain the signs of postpartum depression and anxiety, but in what we call “plain mama English.”  We won’t use words like hypomania or dysthymia—the kind of confusing terms you might see elsewhere. We will use the words thousands of other moms have used who have already been through this. Words that make sense. After that, we’ll give you some links to some really helpful resources and information. You are not alone. Here at Postpartum Progress we understand and we’re happy to help.

When you read the two different symptoms lists below, one for postpartum depression and the one after it for postpartum anxiety and OCD, please remember a few very important things:

  1. You may not be experiencing all of the symptoms listed below or even most of them. Postpartum depression and anxiety are not “one-size-fits-all” illnesses. Your experience may include just a few of the symptoms and you may not have others at all.
  2. Many people have a feeling like the ones listed below every now and then, for a day or two. We all have bad days. Postpartum depression and anxiety are not just bad days. Women with PPD or anxiety have symptoms like these most of the time, for a period of at least 2 weeks or longer, and these symptoms make it feel very hard to live your life each day.
  3. Postpartum depression and anxiety are sometimes “comorbid.”  This means you can have a bit of both, or all of both. If you have symptoms on both lists, that’s not unusual.

Postpartum Depression Symptoms

Okay.  Here we go. You may have postpartum depression if you have had a baby within the last 12 months and are experiencing some of these symptoms:

  • You feel overwhelmed. Not like “hey, this new mom thing is hard.” More like “I can’t do this and I’m never going to be able to do this.” You feel like you just can’t handle being a mother. In fact, you may be wondering whether you should have become a mother in the first place.
  • You feel guilty because you believe you should be handling new motherhood better than this. You feel like your baby deserves better. You worry whether your baby can tell that you feel so bad, or that you are crying so much, or that you don’t feel the happiness or connection that you thought you would. You may wonder whether your baby would be better off without you.
  • You don’t feel bonded to your baby. You’re not having that mythical mommy bliss that you see on TV or read about in magazines. Not everyone with postpartum depression feels this way, but many do.
  • You can’t understand why this is happening. You are very confused and scared.
  • You feel irritated or angry. You have no patience. Everything annoys you. You feel resentment toward your baby, or your partner, or your friends who don’t have babies. You feel out-of-control rage.
  • You feel nothing. Emptiness and numbness. You are just going through the motions.
  • You feel sadness to the depths of your soul. You can’t stop crying, even when there’s no real reason to be crying.
  • You feel hopeless, like this situation will never ever get better. You feel weak and defective, like a failure.
  • You can’t bring yourself to eat, or perhaps the only thing that makes you feel better is eating.
  • You can’t sleep when the baby sleeps, nor can you sleep at any other time. Or maybe you can fall asleep, but you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t go back to sleep no matter how tired you are. Or maybe all you can do is sleep and you can’t seem to stay awake to get the most basic things done. Whichever it is, your sleeping is completely screwed up and it’s not just because you have a newborn.
  • You can’t concentrate. You can’t focus. You can’t think of the words you want to say. You can’t remember what you were supposed to do. You can’t make a decision. You feel like you’re in a fog.
  • You feel disconnected. You feel strangely apart from everyone for some reason, like there’s an invisible wall between you and the rest of the world.
  • Maybe you’re doing everything right. You are exercising. You are taking your vitamins. You have a healthy spirituality. You do yoga. You’re thinking “Why can’t I just get over this?” You feel like you should be able to snap out of it, but you can’t.
  • You might be having thoughts of running away and leaving your family behind. Or you’ve thought of driving off the road, or taking too many pills, or finding some other way to end this misery.
  • You know something is wrong. You may not know you have a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder, but you know the way you are feeling is NOT right. You think you’ve “gone crazy.”
  • You are afraid that this is your new reality and that you’ve lost the “old you” forever.
  • You are afraid that if you reach out for help people will judge you. Or that your baby will be taken away.

Postpartum Anxiety & OCD

You may have postpartum anxiety or postpartum OCD if you have had a baby within the last 12 months and are experiencing some of these symptoms:

  • Your thoughts are racing. You can’t quiet your mind. You can’t settle down. You can’t relax.
  • You feel like you have to be doing something at all times. Cleaning bottles. Cleaning baby clothes. Cleaning the house. Doing work. Entertaining the baby. Checking on the baby.
  • You are worried. Really worried. All. The. Time. Am I doing this right? Will my husband come home from his trip? Will the baby wake up? Is the baby eating enough? Is there something wrong with my baby that I’m missing? No matter what anyone says to reassure you, it doesn’t help.
  • You may be having disturbing thoughts. Thoughts that you’ve never had before. Scary thoughts that make you wonder whether you aren’t the person you thought you were. They fly into your head unwanted and you know they aren’t right, that this isn’t the real you, but they terrify you and they won’t go away. These thoughts may start with the words “What if …”
  • You are afraid to be alone with your baby because of scary thoughts or worries. You are also afraid of things in your house that could potentially cause harm, like kitchen knives or stairs, and you avoid them like the plague.
  • You may feel the need to check things constantly. Did I lock the door? Did I lock the car? Did I turn off the oven? Is the baby breathing?
  • You may be having physical symptoms like stomach cramps or headaches, shakiness or nausea. You might even have panic attacks.
  • You feel like a captive animal, pacing back and forth in a cage. Restless. On edge.
  • You can’t eat. You have no appetite.
  • You’re having trouble sleeping. You are so, so tired, but you can’t sleep.
  • You feel a sense of dread, like something terrible is going to happen.
  • You know something is wrong. You may not know you have a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder, but you know the way you are feeling is NOT right. You think you’ve “gone crazy.”
  • You are afraid that this is your new reality and that you’ve lost the “old you” forever.
  • You are afraid that if you reach out for help people will judge you. Or that your baby will be taken away.

Now that you’ve gone through these lists, are you thinking, “How the heck does this lady know me? Is there a hidden camera in here?” Nope. What this should tell you is that you are not alone and you are not a freak and you are not highly unusual. If you are having these feelings and symptoms then it is possible you are experiencing common illnesses that 15 to 20% of new mothers have, and they are completely treatable. We’re happy to be here to support you.

Postpartum Depression Help

Postpartum Progress is a nonprofit created by moms for moms with maternal mental illness. We know what it’s like and we know how hard it is. Here are some of our best resources for moms with postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety and related illnesses:

 Other Things You Should Know

  • If you are pregnant and are having symptoms similar to those listed above, you should know that you aren’t unusual either. You may have depression or anxiety during pregnancy, which is just as common.
  • If you are having the symptoms listed above, call your doctor. There is no need to suffer alone. Don’t try to wait this out. Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders are temporary and treatable with professional help.
  • If you are already past the first year postpartum and still suffering, you could still have postpartum depression or anxiety. Perhaps you never reached out for help in the first year and you are still struggling. Call your doctor. You can still get help for this.
  • One last but very important thing: If you are having moments where it seems like you can see or hear things no one else does, if you are feeling paranoid as if others are out to get you, if you are feeling that you or your baby are somehow related to the devil or God in some way, or if you are having thoughts of harming yourself or others, it’s important to reach out for help right now. These symptoms require immediate attention as they could be signs of postpartum psychosis. If you have these symptoms, your illness has the potential to take over and lead you to do things that you wouldn’t normally do. In order to avoid that it is important to reach out for help right away so that trained professionals can help you get stabilized and healthy.

Perinatal mood disorders are temporary and treatable with professional help. -postpartumprogress.com
 

Tell Us What You Think

    • Try and focus on the good things. The babys smile, her laugh, etc. I keep telling myself just to breathe. For me, my twins have been my blessing. The only reasons that have kept me going. Best of luck.

      • Karen how do u manage with ur twins? How old are they? Have twin girls 8weeks old and I can tell you it’s hard I am struggling ohh Lord

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  93. Thanks for the list many moms have post part depression with not just the 1st pregnancy. Maybe talking about rage or harming other kids in the home?

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  125. I feel lost! I want to cry but cant* I feel on edge 24/7* I feel anxious, scared, worried, irritated, sad, nauseous, shaky! But yet sometimes happy. I can’t explain it!!!! Help:(

    • Have you called your doctor Demi? That would be a good place to start. Those feelings could be just temporary, but if you find they last for a couple of weeks in a row without going away and that they prevent you from functioning as you would like, it’s definitely worth reaching out to a healthcare provider. ~ K

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    • Tracie, for some moms it goes away and for others it can turn into chronic depression or anxiety. This is why getting treatment is so important. If you’re struggling with anxiety or depression symptoms, whether you’re in the first year postpartum or not, there is help. I would definitely reach out to my doctor to discuss how you’ve been feeling and what your treatment options might be.

      • Sometimes when I get out of the house I get anxious ti get home. This is the only symptom I have I have a three month old and a four year old everyone said it will go away its just because I had a c section and don’t get enough sleep. But I want to go out
        and do stuff but fear I am to exhausted

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  133. I don’t have insurance. Are there any free agencies that help with this? My daughter is almost 10 months old and I haven’t felt like myself since I’ve had her. I have two older children and didn’t feel anything like this after having them and I just can’t get past this weird moody/irrational feelings. I feel lost and numb and just not normal.

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  154. I am experiencing this, is there a prescription I can get? It’s gotten a little better with some counseling and I have started a part time job

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  167. I already knew several of those are things I’ve been struggling with, but this was written so well that it really and truly helped me remember that it’s all okay. I have to share this. Thank you for this.

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  172. Im feeling almost everything listed on here but im scared to get my kids taken away. I Have two Kids a 2 year Old and a 7 month

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  175. This is the first site I’ve read in my search and I feel like I don ‘t need to look further. However, I will because that what good research does. Nevertheless, I find the information on this site to be comprehensive and informative. I now know that this is what my daughter is experiencing. She never got the help she needs since having my granddaughter almost 3 years ago. But, I’m thankful to know that I’ve done some of the things suggested in “how to help mothers with PPD”. Thank you soooo much….P.S. Please let me know if she can still get the help she needs at this stage.

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  177. The Plain Mama English was a life saver. I don’t even want to know where I would be if I didn’t click on that link. You have inspired me to start a blog myself. Big hugs! I will forever be grateful!

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  179. I have no job no money because all of what my ex makes goes to the baby or bills. How can I get help with no income to spend on myself. I have the feelings from both lists and my daughter is almost 10 months. I feel like I’m drowning.

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  192. i am suffering and see no way out. i was a high functioning professional, recently married, new baby. i thought i was in the prime of my life. then i started getting panic attacks and severe depression/suicidal ideation (i think due in part to medications and side effects with emotional numbing, apathy, and SI) and have been in treatment for months with no sign of true improvement. i’ve lost all hope by this point. i don’t even know who i am.

    • Sy – I’m so sorry. Losing sense of who you are is absolutely terrifying. You are not alone. It can take time to improve from these illnesses and sometimes that entails working with several doctors or trying different medications until you find what works for you. Don’t lose hope, you will get better.

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  202. I don’t know I experience iwas stress depress since I gave birth to my son it was 2006 I don’t like noise when my kids they talking to much I was so mad and angry its easy to me to get angry and after half hour I’m so guilty idont know what I’m gonna do.

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    • I mean im about to lose it.. The noise, the whinning, the crying, noise noise noise. The attachment.. The clinging.. I cant breath.. I cant think.. I cant get anything done.. Things are always getting dirty… I hate dirty and unorganized…Feeling fat and unaccomplished worthless.. Like a terrible mother.. I cant get a moment of time to myself. Cant afford daycare.. Dad works is bread winning so when he gets home he’s intitled to his peace… They fo everywhen i go.. Im about to have a nental break down.. I find myself screaming and crying.. I also have ptsd.anxiety and depression…. Im just screwed.. I cant focus on school. I cant focus on my writing… I need help

    • Shanta – Depression can show up anytime, and some studies say it’s just as common 4 years after a child is born as it is right after birth. The bottom line is, becoming a mother is a tough, tough thing and kids are hard. No matter how old your child is, it’s important to reach out for help and talk to your doctor about treatments for depression. You will get better.

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  207. I had my son six weeks early. He is still in the hospital, his due date was April 1st. I adopted him to a great family, i was raped and am not ready to be a mother. I’ve been really moppey as my fiance says. I cannot eat without throwing up i have pre-eclampsia still from my pregnancy. I just don’t know if I’m depressed or what to do.

    • Hannah – Talk with your doctor. The symptoms you describe sound like they should be shared with a medical professional. Depression needs treatment too. Get yourself some help, you don’t have to keep feeling so awful.

  208. is it uncommon to have a dream that leads to anxiety or depression…..i had one when i was pregnant about 1 1/2 years ago— it happened when i was 6 months pregnant— and it was terrible.. in my dream a short old man came out of a black hallway, and said you may die in three years. i woke up and cried and cried, and it still over comes me sometimes, it was very scary! do i believe it or….

  209. I’m curious to know….I’m on the Smart Patients open forum for PPD and was wondering what people are referring to when they talk about IT’s (in reference to PP Anxiety). My guess has been Interrupting Thoughts. Thanks for your time,
    Amanda

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  212. My child is three now she was two when this happened to me could this be post depression anxiety what do I do to fix this

    • Hi Tasha, depression and anxiety are very common among mothers during their childbearing years. Help is available. A good place to start is reaching out to your doctor or to a therapist for help. You don’t have to keep feeling like this. You will get better.

  213. My daughter in law is hospitalized for postpartum in Georgia but no one seems to know what to. Where can I get a list of places in metro Atlanta that specializes in postpartum depression

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  218. thank you for this. spot on. we need to be vigilant–reaching out, helping mommas, and guiding them to care.

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  222. What if you have PPD and no support system because your family just thinks you’re crazy because of some other reason?

    • Momto8 — I’m sorry you feel you have no support system. Is there a friend or distant relative you can confide in? Even if your immediate family isn’t supporting you, you can still get help. Talk with a doctor or a therapist about how you are feeling. We understand. You are not alone.

  223. I think what you’ve written here is important. I had always heard of postpartum depression, but it’s important to emphasize that postpartum symptoms aren’t exclusively sadness. Feeling overwhelmed, enraged, irritable, etc. is crucial to recognize. I had a really great doctor, your OB can be helpful at times like these…

  224. I didn’t think I have postpartum depression. Just insensitive people telling me all the time that I have it even though I was the happiest I have ever been, a husband that can’t seem to understand that even I deserve sleep, and a slew of people who make it perfectly clear I am doing everything wrong

  225. Pingback: Guest post: Breastfeeding + postpartum psychosis, a highly unlikely love story ⋆ The Boob Geek

  226. my roommates gave birth to her first child two months again. She has become suspicious that i am taking something that may harm her baby which is totally baseless. I am wondering if she is suffering from postpartum depression? i am now being pissed off about some of the things she is doing. She started checking on me while i am in my bed room and she is also suspicious when i go to the bathroom. i am feeling being harassed. I am asking if that is the case i could understand her and try to help. Thank you

    • Fasa – It’s possible, but hard to know without hearing her whole story. I’d encourage you to ask her how she’s feeling and see if she might open up to you about new motherhood. You could also share some of your feelings with her and ask her how you can all get along better.

  227. this so perfectly describes my granddaughter and confirms my suspicion. but. can’t. seem. to get help for her and fear a bad outcome. This site helps me and I will stay on my mission to get.help somehow.

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  232. Base on what ive read . suffering from postpartum depression 🙁 do i need to consult to my doctor right now .. Im worried to my merrage life . i feel like im going crazy 🙁

  233. I just had a baby and i have been experiencing this symptoms.. Im scared to go to the Dr..What if i dont get any support from my family about this?what if this wont go away?

    • Nori,

      It may be scary to talk about feeling this way, but it is best to see your doctor if you are experiencing symptoms. You can get help and start to recover. Your doctor can talk to you about treatment options for your particular symptoms. Try to believe that seeking professional help will get you to a better place, and peace to you!

  234. I feek like everything i just read is whats happening to me… I just want to grab my newborn and run away from everyone I know. Be alone with no one to help me, but wanting the gelp. Its difficult to explain :'(

    • Blanca,

      It is hard to explain, you’re right. But it makes sense to those of us who have gone through it, or are going through it. You are certainly not alone. Please keep talking about it, and reach out to people you trust if you feel you need help. We all need help sometimes! Peace to you and yours…

  235. I feel like most of the stuff listed under PPD/anxiety, I am feeling, but my kids are 5 and 3 now. Would that be considered postpardem or would it just be depression/anxiety? I continuously have these episodes, and it’s becoming exhausting.. To the point that I do just want to “run away” and leave everything behind..

    • I’m sorry you’re struggling with this, and for what may have been a long time. Because we are not medical professionals, we can’t answer your question but I do want to encourage you to explore it further with your doctor or a medical health professional. Many women do begin to experience anxiety and depression symptoms postpartum and if not treated, these symptoms can continue. It’s best to talk it over with someone trained to help you explore it. You are worth it, Mama.

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    • I’m sorry, Asia. I’m sorry you weren’t taken seriously and I hope you can find some people who will. Maybe a friend you can trust. And it would be very good to speak to a doctor about how you are feeling, especially one that specializes in postpartum mental health. There are many psychiatrists with this specialty. And therapists as well. Peace to you.

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  265. I have been having all these symptoms for a little over a year,due to a miscarriage of twins. And have been trying to deal with it,and my OBGYN. said it was all in my head ,get more exercise, or try yoga or try this. I do ALL that and Im still so Angry and enraged and distant with my Husband and 8 yr old. I was Never like this before . My Mother has even noticed Im Very Different than My Old Self .

    • Hi Chanda,

      I’m sorry you’ve been hurting and I’m sorry for your loss. Maybe it’s time to try a different doctor? It sounds like you need to talk to someone who understand perinatal mood disorders. Help is out there and you are so worth getting better. Peace…

  266. Pingback: Hayden Panettiere Gets Help For Postpartum Depression: How You Can Know The Signs, Symptoms Of Serious Baby Blues | Daily America

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  268. Well my name is sarah i do belive I’m going threw postpartum depresion. i am not the same me i feel mad and sad all the time never have pations for my kids but i love them dearly. i need some ones appenion?

    • Hello Sarah, I’m so sorry you are struggling. I hope you can find some help where you live. You need to reach out to a trusted doctor and tell them exactly how you are feeling. Or a therapist. People struggling with this illness need help to get better, but you CAN get better in time and with that help. Click on the “Find Help” tab on this website and see if there are some providers listed in your area. There is also a list of support groups. We all need help sometimes. You are not alone.

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  277. My partner is going through a lot of the things that have been mentioned here i really appreciate that this has been posted it helps me as a father understand more what my partner is going through and what help i can get to help thank you.

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  282. I feel like anything my partner does is wrong im constantly angry my baby is 8 weeks old i was 3 weeks early and he spend over a week in neo natal and i blame my partner for stressing me since his been born im snappy i feel traped, unloved like im on my own like everyone is against me i dont want to leave the house i just want to stay locked away from the world to protect my baby because something might happen or go wrong i dont no wht to do i feel like im taken over my anger im jst not me anymore

    • Sophie, you can get through this, but you need help. Have you reached out to a therapist or doctor? We all need help sometimes. I hope you have someone you trust you can talk with. I’m sending you peace.

  283. What if my baby is not such a baby anymore… nearly 2… and I have a lot of these feelings towards my husband? I love him so much and can’t figure out what’s wrong with me. I’m always irritated or angry and have no patience towards him like nothing he does is right.
    “Everything annoys you. You feel resentment toward your baby, or your partner, or your friends who don’t have babies. You feel out-of-control rage. You feel nothing. Emptiness and numbness. You are just going through the motions.”
    Am I just being weak? Maybe I’m just tired? Something has to be wrong with me, right? My baby is a toddler?! Is this just me still trying to figure out how to balance being a working mom and I’m failing?! I feel like I need to talk to someone about this feelings I’m trying to suppress but who can I trust?

    • Hi mama. I totally get it. It’s hard. I don’t have all the answers, but I think it’s important to consider therapy to work through it. Sometimes that outside perspective is so crystal clear and sheds light on things you are confused about because you are in the middle of it. Yes, exhaustion and stress can certainly be a part of it. It’s best to talk it over with a professional, to figure it out. You don’t have to figure it out alone. Thank you for your honest questions, Heather

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  285. Feel like crying over everything, going into a dram then crying my baby is 12 days old and is not like it’s my first baby it’s my 5th but I still feel like I’m not going to beable to cope when my husband goes back to work and when his not hear baby crus I cry cause I feel it’s something I have done

    • Hi Caroline, I’m sorry you’re feeling like this. Have you thought about reaching out to your doctor? If you have a doctor you trust, it would be so good to tell them exactly how you’re feeling so they can get started helping you. You can most certainly get better with time and help!

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  290. I’m a mother again after 13 years.. And it’s pretty hard to swing back into that mode.. And I hate when people pick my baby up and hold her and I say put her down they look at me like I’m crazy even her dad I don’t want him to hold her ..

  291. Pingback: Postpartum Mood Disorders | Family Milestones

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  293. I believe my partner has a few of these symptoms but she has taken our 1 year old and 1 month old to her mother’s,she’s persistant she no longer wants to be with me but I know sheshe not herself and she did exactly the same with our first,she won’t pick up my calls or reply and has compleatly blocked me out,she says there’s nothing wrong with her and no body can get through to her I don’t know what to do,everyone says to leave her to calm down?but I don’t know?

    • Brent, I’m sorry. I know you must be so frustrated and feeling so helpless. I wish there was an answer for you, but I’m afraid you can only wait and hope and try to do your best to let her have some time. You can’t force someone to see they need help unless they are a danger to themselves or others. I’m so sorry you are going through this. I hope she becomes willing to talk and get help. Peace to you.

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  296. I didn’t mean to get PPD/anxiety. I feel very blessed to have my son! I experienced a lot of complications after delivery that could have killed me so my outlook on life is not a shallow one. Its very hard to admit this is what’s going on. The anxiety is unbearable at times and the smallest things can trigger it. A million negative thoughts, panick attacks, fear, worry, obsession, feeling like your trapped, like your in slow motion like you are stuck in quick sand, the feeling of you have to get the laundry done the dishes the meals and your brain is so frazzled you can’t get anywhere; you try but it feels like it’s impossible to accomplish a simple task, is not anything a (new)mother wants to go through!! We as women get to experience the greatest blessing on earth!. Carry our children and birth them. Then we raise them and realize maybe a few weeks, months or year that hey, I have perinatal mood disorder and it kept me from enjoying my first few months with my baby. Then we go back to work and really? I just took maternity leave and I only enjoyed part of it. Which leads to us going this really sucks! I wish it was easier for every mother. Especially first time mothers. I had myself convinced I wasn’t going to experience this my third time having my babies. Then it happened. Just shows we really aren’t in control. I hope every mom gets help when she needs it. Our families depend on us!

  297. Pingback: mikala's musings » Blog Archive » Postpartum Depression II

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  299. These systems fit my wife to a T! She moved out and left the baby with me and is saying she’s not depressed! How do you help some one when they say they are fine? I’m trying desperately to save our marriage please help!

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  303. All the treatment section refers to is depression. No mention of treating anxiety. I am fine until I am still in bed and try to sleep. Then the panic attack sets in. Nonstop thoughts of climate change, earthquakes, nuclear meltdowns, my daughters struggling to survive a dystopian future. I feel powerless as it is all too big to take on.

    This started at eight months of my second pregnancy and has been my life for half a year now. I feel very alone, like I am the only one who “sees” these things. It is a horrible sense of doom and no one seems to understand because I am not sad, I am just terrified.

    Where is the treatment for this? Can your site help me? I am not depressed. I can handle my life with children just fine. Its handling the world outside my family that suddenly seems impossible.

  304. If this is untreated, can it last 2-3 years? Also, my niece recently had a child late in life – she and her husband already had 5 children with the last one being high school age. In the last 2-3 months she has become angry all the time and she is now taking her anger out on her mother. Could she be going through postpartum depression? None of us understand why she is so angry and her oldest daughter pretty much takes care of the 3 year old son. Can you please offer some advice? I have tried to talk to her about seeing a counselor but she refuses. She doesnt think anything is wrong, but clearly there are some issues going on here, but neither she or her husband want to accept responsibility for her behavior. She has a way of turning it on the “other person”. We need your help. Thank you!

    • Hi Michelle,

      It’s so hard to feel helpless. I wish there were some easy answers for you and your family. If your niece is not willing to get help, there isn’t a way to make her unless she is a danger to herself or someone else. I know it is so frustrating, but it’s the reality. Some people benefit from going to counseling themselves (like her mother) to learn how to approach the person and keep boundaries, how to not take on the stress and anger. That seems unfair, to do the work “for” the person, but really it is a way for your niece’s mother to care for herself. She can’t deal with this unless she’s strong and healthy. I’m sorry you are all going through this. So often mamas feel a lot of shame, so much that they can’t even really allow themselves to face it. Her defensiveness may be a result of that. Hang in there and keep trying, as a family, to gently care for your niece while hoping that she will become open to your suggestions and insight.

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    • Mama, you have SO much on your plate with triplets. I hope you have reached out for help. We all need help. Have you spoken with a doctor or therapist? I hope that you will consider that if you have not. I’m so sorry you are struggling so much.

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  316. I feel I have ppd but I don’t know what to do. My baby is 17 months old and I try to put on a happy great mother mask on for everyone but it’s starting to wear me out…I can’t focus well and I don’t like the thoughts in having…I don’t know what to do…

    • Victoria, I’m sorry, I’m sure you are so worn out. Please call your doctor to talk about the symptoms you are having. Help is there, mama. And if you don’t get the answers you need, respond to me here. There is hope, mama.

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  321. This article doesn’t really say what to do if you feel you may have ppd. I’m reluctant to see a professional because I don’t just want to fix the problem (or rather symptoms) with drugs. I have a 4 year old son and a 15 month old daughter. I remember when my son was born I lived in constant fear. I was a lone pretty much all day with him and rarely went outside. I was plagued by fears of a neighbor trying to break through out door and kill us, falling down the stairs with my baby, him choking and many other irrational fears. I would be so caught up in these fantasies that nothing would take me out of them until I’d hit a wall with them unable to come up with an adequate “solution” to the many problems I created in my head. I would cry at the hopelessness I felt in not being able to protect my child and I had no idea that anything was really wrong with me. I look back on those times and feel sad that I felt so isolated and a lone.

    Fast forward, 15 months ago i had my daughter. I remembered what I had suffered with my son so I was more aware of the symptoms and when I noticed them creeping in (ie: when “what if” questions would start to pop up in my mind), I reminded myself that the thought was not a rational thought and to “let it go.” Realizing that I am not in full control of my life and that of my childrens and reminding myself of that has helped also. I pray to be present and focus on the moments I have with them instead of living in the future and the fears they hold. Making friends has also helped and being around others in general. My mind is in a healthier place when I am surrounded by other people (positive of course), and we are enjoying each others company. Doing simple things I like, for example, going to a nice and relaxing coffee shop with my daughter (while my son is at school) really helps me feel like I’m taking care of myself. Also having “Me” time. I am fortunate to have help from my husband when he gets home, and having the time to take a long shower and/or run out by myself to do something for me helps tremendously.

    This is my experience and although I still feel like I suffer from postpartum anxiety, I feel a bit better that I have some tools I can use to get though it. The main thing, in my opinion, is to not do it a lone. Wishing everyone a present and peaceful state of mind.

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  329. I started to cry when i came to the end off the page. I have been feeling like this for sometime and thought it was anxiety. now i have somewhat of an idea as to what is happening to me thank you.

    • I’m so glad you know, it’s so freeing to know. You aren’t alone. You do have something happening to you, it’s not just you. Hang in there, mama. I hope you have help for treatment so you can move forward. I’m sending you so much peace.

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  353. I love this site, it seems to be all there, except my symptoms. I read and read and i feel better but then i am like but my all my symptoms are not there, does this i am different and that i really could have something else wrong with me. doctors say its PPA PPD AND PP HARM OCD, but the way things are worded here are (NOT WHAT IF THOUGHTS I mean they used to be but now they are WHEN AND HOW THOUGHTS this scares the crap out of me. i have never hurt anything in my life. this is baby number 5 and i just never seen this coming, its been 23 months for me, it started when i was 6 months pregnant ( yes the baby was planed i knew id be a good mother i did 4 other times, but this baby i can’t be left alone with her because i am afraid i am going to hurt her. i don’t get angry with her she could cry all day and i don’t feel like shacking her or dropping her down the stairs.. its when i am in love with her that thoughts turn bad. I go to kiss her and hug her and wham my brain is like go ahead hurt her.
    can someone please help me sort this out. i need to know that what is going for me is common and that i do fit in the harm ocd profile and not something else… my doctor told me not to give the thoughts any air time. but when the thoughts flood the station i have no choice. please help… i know ill find the right help somewhere, if i keep yelling for it . PPPLLLEASE HELLLPPPPP MMMEEE.

    • Cindy, I was having trouble getting my reply to post, so I’m sorry it has been slow for you to get a response. One thing I want to say is that we do have a forum (it’s private) where you could work through some of this with other mamas in your same shoes. Your questions would be seen by many more mamas in that space. Here is the link for that – https://www.smartpatients.com/partners/postpartumprogress

      It is really hard to figure all of this out, I understand. It sounds like your intrusive thoughts are beating you up and I’m sorry. I believe there’s a good chance your doctors have diagnosed you correctly but that the wording you found here did not quite fit the way your thoughts are focused in on WHEN and now WHAT IF. But even if the language is different, it does not mean that you are worse or the only one. Other mamas experience what you are describing. It sounds like those thoughts have gotten extreme for you but they are not YOU, they are part of this awful illness. I’m glad you have providers in your life to help you through this. It does improve with time and help, it really does. Come join us in the forum if you’d like to talk more. Peace to you, mama.

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    • Talk with your doctor, okay? Because the answer is yes, it’s possible. Your body is going through a lot and sometimes that messes with your body chemistry, hormones, etc.

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  361. I have pnd and I can not bear any one holding my little girl (not even her dad)n when they do I’m so on edge and can’t sit still or feal so ill.my husband does not understand n think I just being silly as I don’t trust him with her but this is not the case.what can u do to try n get him to understand?

    • Hello mama,

      First of all, I’m sorry you are struggling like this. It’s hard to get breaks for yourself when you are so afraid of others taking care of your baby, and you need breaks. And it’s just plain hard to feel so distressed. I’m sorry. Your husband might understand better if you share some of the posts from this website with him. Or, it might be good to see a counselor together, because sometimes it helps having a person who is removed emotionally explain things in a way that leaves some of the tension out of the conversation. I hope that makes sense. Thank you for reaching out.

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  368. I had post partum D while pregnant .. A week after I had the baby I got taken to the psych ward, I felt like I was losing it detached, overwhelmed,afraid, regretful etc .. I was so scared to tell professionals that I felt disconnected from my baby that I didn’t want her but I truly did.. Not a motherly thing.. I got diagnosed with bipolar 1 then 2 was on high dosage of lithium no anti depressants for about 14 months but I felt worse still detached, overwhelmed etc.. I stopped meds got a 2nd opinion and was diagnosed with post partum and adhd .. Well uhmm was it my fault that I did t get the help or the lack of the nurse practitioner to see the timeline of events? Idk? .. But I finally feel like myself again 😃.. My boring story lol

    • It’s not your fault, Brooke. And your story is not boring 🙂 You’ve been through so much, and I’m so glad you are feeling like yourself again! Maybe the nurse practitioner should have known, but it’s hard to say with the sequence of events. They do their best, most of them, and we do our best and sometimes it simply takes time to figure it out. Misdiagnosis is frustrating…but it happens a lot! You are not alone, and the important thing is that you found your way and you are doing better. Hang in there, mama!

  369. I’m suffering from postpartum anxiety and I can’t stop thinking about what if this…what if that….type stuff and I keep thinking about how it’s going to be when I die and it’s eating me up and driving me crazy.. it’s literally making me sick!

    • Hello Jessica,

      I’m so sorry you are going through this. Have you gotten the help you need? Are you being treated for the anxiety? I know it’s so hard to figure out what to do and to wait for it to get better. But it really does get better with time and help. I’m sending you peace.

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  373. Wow! Reading this made me feel so much better. I was sure I was going insane. Glad to know I’m not alone and not the only one with these feelings/symptoms.

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    • Hi Aubrey,

      Have you had any kind of help for this? With therapy or have you talked with your doctor? If PPD/PPA go untreated, they can last, for even two years, yes. If you haven’t reached out for help, that’s the first step in overcoming this. I’m sorry you have been suffering for so long!

  378. Pingback: Being a Peaceful Parent |

  379. I love my baby. His smile, the little noises he makes. It feel very attached to my son. At night is when I get depressed. I have depression to begin with, but I don’t want to believe I have PPD. I feel like I can never spend time with my fiancé, he works so much. I sometimes feels like I can’t do enough for my son. Nights I can’t get him to sleep, I ask my parents for help and I don’t like doing that. It makes me feel horrible. I’m not sure if I actually have PPD, but I’m so tired of taking medication that I don’t want to call me doctor. What else can I do?

    • Shari,

      You can join us in our private Smart Patients forum to talk more about this, mama. There are so many other moms there who are going through the same thing. There are a lot of conversations there about treatment without meds. Sometimes it turns out that meds are the temporary way to get you back on track and then you can taper off and rely on nutrients, exercise, counseling, etc. Here is the link for the forum if you’d like to join. – https://www.smartpatients.com/partners/postpartumprogress

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  383. I have a 3 month old and a FTM. I’ve been feeling depressed lately and was worried it was postpartum. Reading this has made me feel a little better because i only have 2 or 3 symptoms. Irritability, sleeping troubles, and feeling down. I know this could just be from all the changes and takinc it day by day and enjoying my little one. Luckily i feel so blessed he is in my life and just want to say thank you for writing this in mommy language!

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  388. I’m having this feeling that someones gonna get us, me and my baby. Someone’s gonna hurt us. Most of the time I can feel like someone’s watching over us, like the devil. I’m being paranoid after I heard this voice record in Facebook a conversation with a 911 operator and a young girl describing the man outside their house with a long arms, wearing a tie, bald with no face and its going to get her and her brother. The window was crashed and I heard the girl screamed and the girl talk so weird and that creepy voice of the man. I just can’t stop thinking about it. Then I’m scared of the knife, falling from the stairs. Dreaming about weird things. I’m trying to control myself, thinking positively.but still I get the feeling of being so creepy, weird, empty, tired, floating. My baby is running 4 months this March.

    • Karen, I’m so so very sorry you are experiencing this. Are you getting help of any kind? Are you able to do that? How can we help you? You can email me at help@postpartumprogress.org if you would like to do that. I’m sending you peace…

  389. Pingback: Why I Decided to Go Public with PPD, a News Anchor's Story - Postpartum Progress

  390. Thank you, I wish I had read something like this 6 years ago. I’m pretty sure I had postpartum anxiety & OCD after my first child was born. I constantly had panic attacks and couldn’t sleep. I would regularly picture (very vividly) terrible things happening, and it was all I could do to not scream out loud. I didn’t want to put her in the car. I was always ready for anything, not sleeping and watching her closely. I brushed it off as being a worried new mom. My husband made me talk to the doctor, and they gave me meds for anxiety. I wouldn’t take them, I felt that if I was calmer I wouldn’t be able to protect my child. It gradually got better on it’s own, but I wish I had realized it was a problem I may have been able to get the help I needed to relax and enjoy my little one. I hope this article helps people.

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  392. It’s very hard people around me even my own family don’t understand me dont even care about my feelings . I’m always worried about my symptoms i feel head ache chest pain , nausea fatigue, light headed tingling numb and back pain irritated sometimes. I always think I have cancer, liver cancer,and hard to breath,

    kidney disease, lung cancer, highblood, blood clot, leukemia, thyroid problem, Ms, brain cancer, stroke, heart attack and heart failure and some sensation . I’m only 19 years old I have a daughter and its very hard for me to take care of her because I’m always thinking that I’m dying and I’m so worried and scared of death. I feel like nobody care about me.

    • Lyn, I’m so sorry you are going through this. You are describing Postpartum anxiety and OCD symptoms. I hope you have been able to get help from a doctor. That’s the first step in getting better. I’m sending you peace, and please ask questions if you have any. We would be happy to help you.

  393. I have been feeling a few of these symptoms ever since I got pregnant. I don’t feel “connected” to my baby (almost 9 months old). I never experienced that “mommy bliss” I feel like I have been pretending since she was born. I’m just going through the motions. She annoys me more than makes me happy and some days I wonder if I even love her. In fact, as I wrote that last sentence I automatically went into defense mode “of course you love her thays your child!”….but then I think…”do I though?”. I hate the crying, I hate giving so much of myself to cater to her needs, I hate having to worry about her ALL the time. Did she eat? Does she need to be changed? Wake up. Get her dressed feed her and so on and so on. I feel like I can’t talk to anyone about this. I can’t talk to my boyfriend about it because he will just think I’m being dramatic and I don’t want him to think less of me. I hate being a mother. I’m tired of parenting. Anyone have any advice? I can’t afford to go out and talk to someone. Help please….I want to live my baby better. She doesn’t deserve this.

    • Devvon, you are not alone in feeling this way. Not at all. You are not a horrible person or a terrible mother. It sounds like you are dealing with some PPD/PPA symptoms. When you say you can’t go out to talk to someone, do you mean therapy? Do you have insurance for a medical doctor?

      You may find it helpful to join our private forum and talk with other mothers who feel exactly as you do. Here is that link – https://www.smartpatients.com/partners/postpartumprogress

      I’m sending you peace.

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  400. My daughter is 3 already and I still havent told anyone the way I feel. I feel insucure that people would judge me to think is just all in my head, or that they wont believe me.
    I try to be strong but its really difficult!!

    • Oh Marie, that is so long to suffer in silence. I’m so sorry. This is a common thing, and clinicians know that. You don’t have to talk about it to family and friends, but talking with a trusted doctor and/or therapist would be so freeing for you. To continue as you are is stealing your joy, mama. And you are worthy of having a better experience than this in all things. We are just not meant to suffer in silence, and often people are far more understanding than we can imagine. Please let me know if there is any further ways that Postpartum Progress can help. I’m going to leave you a link to providers that specialize in perinatal mood disorders divided by state. http://www.postpartumprogress.com/womens-mental-health-treatment-programs-specialists-us-canada-australia

      This illness can get worse and worse, and there is no shame in needing help for it, mama. If you would like to talk with other moms that are going through it, or have gone through it and gotten better, in our private forum, here is the link for that – https://www.smartpatients.com/partners/postpartumprogress

      Peace to you…

  401. Excellent article. I thought you were talking about me. When my son turned 1 I decided to seek help. Best decision I ever made, just wish I had done it a lot sooner. But I was so afraid my husband would take my baby and leave. When I finally told him, he embraced and apologized because I went through that alone. My son is now 3.

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  406. What can I do to help my wife through this problem? I want to make things better, but I don’t exactly understand this post partum. If anyone who has had and overcome this or is in the process of overcoming it can give me a few pointers it would be much appreciated. Thank you

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  410. My wife has literally everything on this list, minus a few of the first ones with the actual baby herself, I have softly brought this up to her and she completly is in denial and wont admit to any of these things. She has changed in so many ways since our daughter and is nearly a different person, I am a nurse so it is in my nature to start diagnosing upon symptoms unvieling. How do I get her to take this as an option seriously and get checked or help if it is needed.

    • I’m sorry you’re going through this, all of you. Unfortunately, as you know as a nurse, you can’t force treatment on someone who is not a danger to themselves or others. It’s so good that you gently brought it up…and I’m sorry it did not go well. She knows how you feel about it now, and what you have noticed. Is there anyone in your lives that she respects and feels safe with that she may be more open to listening to? Sometimes mamas can’t stand to hear the concern from those the very closest to them, like husbands. Mamas who are struggling like this sometimes are in denial because it is just too much, and someone who lives with them bringing it up feels like an attack no matter how it is stated. If this is effecting your relationship, you may make the suggestion that you should maintain your relationship through counseling, since having a baby causes a huge shift in marriages. If you focus on that, she may be willing to go and then hopefully what you are seeing in her would become something the therapist would be able to put to her in a way that she is open to hearing. Just some thoughts. Peace to you and yours….

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