It’s no wonder with the hormones that you’re still producing, the enormous emotional and physical burden of having a baby and the sense of climax (or anti climax) that follows your baby’s birth that as many as 60 to 80 percent of new mums suffer from ‘baby blues.’
When those blues don’t go away after around two weeks or if the depression is very severe then you could be experiencing a more severe condition known as postpartum depression.
While the exact cause of PPD is not known and is attributed to factors ranging from hormones to genetics, it is fairly common with 10 to 20 percent of new mums experiencing full blown depression for weeks, months or even years after their children are born.
Many cases of PPD are completely impossible to predict, but there are risk factors that you should be looking out for including:
  • A family history of depression
  • A personal history of depression, either before or during your pregnancy
  • Lack of support or relationship problems with your spouse
  • Financial trouble
  • Other upheavals in your life, such as being fired, losing a loved one, divorce or separation or even moving house
  • Very severe PMS or complications with your pregnancy or birth
  • Any unresolved personal trauma, abuse or childhood problems.
The best way to ensure that you don’t get PPD, or that you deal with it well, is to make sure that you have an adequate support structure. Having family and friends around to help you adjust to the huge change that becoming a mum brings can help you to cope with feelings of depression. Not to mention that isolating yourself is one of the biggest risk factors for depression.
There are no guarantees that you will or won’t get PPD but, if you do, speaking to a counsellor, your doctor or a therapist is your best course of action.