Do you feel anxious and moody a lot but chalk it up to new-mom nerves? As the weeks go by, has your partner or a friend wondered if your "baby blues" may be more serious? Don't let embarrassment or pride keep you from talking with your doctor. As many as 10 to 20 percent of new mothers develop postpartum depression, which can last from two weeks to as long as a year. It's a real and treatable illness.
If you're still not feeling like yourself three months after giving birth, ask yourself the following questions, which were developed by the Postpartum Stress Center: in Rosemont, Pennsylvania. Do you:
• have trouble sleeping?
• feel exhausted most of the time?
• have less of an appetite?
• worry about little things that never used to bother you?
• wonder whether you'll ever have time to yourself again?
• think your children would be better off without you?
• worry your partner will get tired of you feeling this way?
• snap at your partner and children frequently?
• think other moms are better mothers than you are?
• cry over small things?
• no longer enjoy the things you used to enjoy?
• isolate yourself from your friends and neighbors?
• fear leaving the house or being alone?
• have anxiety attacks?
• have unexplained anger?
• have difficulty concentrating?
• think something is wrong with you?
• feel like you'll always feel this way and never get better?
If you answered yes to three or more questions, the Postpartum Stress Center recommends that you seek advice and treatment.
So, what should I do next?