When the labor and delivery nurse puts your baby in your arms for the first time, it’s meant to be the happiest moment in your entire life…but for 20% of women, it can trigger a dark and unimaginable existence known as postpartum depression. This is completely different from the “baby blues” that most women experience during the weeks following the birth of the baby. These symptoms can include crying for no clear reason, having trouble sleeping, or questioning whether you can handle caring for your baby.
Postpartum depression may start as the “baby blues”, but symptoms can become more intense and longer lasting. Severe mood swings, extreme anger, feelings of guilt, difficulty bonding with your baby, delusions, paranoia, and attempts to harm yourself or your baby distinguish this frightening disease.
For those women who have a history of depression at any time in their lives, newly diagnosed depression during pregnancy and undiagnosed depression are especially at risk. The NY Times article “Thinking of Ways to Harm Her” is an insightful and present-day overview of this terrifying disease. You might be surprised to learn who is really at risk and when these disturbing symptoms can occur.
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