Postpartum depression is a term used to describe a variety of emotional problems that can affect any woman during pregnancy or within the first year after delivery. Women who experience postpartum depression may feel bewildered and confused by having sad feelings when they “should” be feeling happy, and those feelings may interfere with bonding between mother and child and overall child development.
Symptoms of postpartum depression range from mild “baby blues” to severe depression. The “baby blues” typically occur within the first two to three weeks following delivery and usually resolve within a week or two without intervention. Although the symptoms are distressing, they typically do not affect the mother’s ability to function and care for herself or her child.
Mothers with more severe depressive symptoms may be unable to provide care for themselves or their children. They may be at risk of suicide, self-harm or harm to the infant. Severe postpartum depression is considered a crisis that requires immediate medical help and intervention.
If you suffer from postpartum depression:
- Call the Atlantic Behavioral Health hotline at 973-540-0100
One-on-one professional support for women (and family members) suffering from postpartum depression is available.
- Join a support group
Overlook Medical Center’s Postpartum Support Group is designed for moms looking to learn coping and relaxation skills to help them with their new role. Classes are held at 46-48 Beauvoir Avenue, Summit, NJ. To register, call 1-888-247-1400.
- Ask family and friends for support
People who can help are all around you. Look for caring, sympathetic listeners, such as your partner, someone in your family, a close friend or religious leader.