No matter how you delivered your baby — vaginal, natural, Cesarean, or VBAC — recovering after birth can be both physically and emotionally challenging. It’s normal to feel a mix of exhaustion, irritability, sadness, and anxiety during the first couple weeks after childbirth. But how do you know if you have a simple case of the “baby blues” or something more serious like postpartum depression?
The “baby blues” will usually go away soon after they start without treatment. If your symptoms feel more severe or you find it increasingly difficult to cope with daily tasks, you may have postpartum depression.
Symptoms of Postpartum Depression
Postpartum depression is a moderate to severe form of depression following childbirth that can affect your ability to care for yourself and family. Mothers of lower socioeconomic status and women of color are more likely to experience postpartum mental illness — and less likely to get treatment for it. But it’s important to seek help when your mood impacts your daily life and your bond with your newborn.
The symptoms are more extreme than the “baby blues” and can include any of the following:
Sadness and hopelessness
Feeling overly anxious
Poor concentration, confusion, or difficulty remembering details
Resentment and extreme mood swings
Over-attentiveness or lack of interest in newborn
Feelings of isolation and withdrawal from others
A fear of harming the newborn or yourself
Due to the range of symptoms, only a healthcare provider can diagnose you with postpartum depression.