Are You At Risk Of Postpartum Depression?

mother and baby
Image via Jennifer Bruno

Finding out you are pregnant can be one of the most joyfully terrifying experiences of all time.  I waited years for the news, and as soon as the second line appeared in the window of my pregnancy test, I was a hyped, frantic,  an overjoyed ball of excitement. 

“Am I having a boy or a girl?  Will he have brown eyes?  Will he enjoy school?  Will he be a snuggler or a spitfire?  Can we afford this?  Will I meet my breastfeeding goals?  Will I be the mother I always hoped to be?  Will I suffer from postpartum depression (PPD)?”

The questions were unending.  And so were my fears about PPD.

I’d seen it before in many of my friends.  They were once expectant mothers as excited to bring their baby’s into the world as I was, only to fall prey to the unfortunate hell of PPD just weeks after delivering their beautiful children.

How incredibly unfair.

{ MORE:  This is what Postpartum Depression Looks Like. }

According to the National Library of Medicine, postpartum depression is moderate to severe depression in a woman after she has given birth. It may occur soon after delivery or up to a year later.  Affecting 10 to 20% of new mothers, PPD is an often crippling and sometimes dangerous condition that goes beyond the scope of the normal “baby blues” many women experience shortly after giving birth.  

PPD is an often crippling and sometimes dangerous condition that goes beyond the scope of the normal “baby blues” many women experience shortly after giving birth. 

The symptoms of PPD vary from woman to woman and may include feelings of hopelessness, guilt, anxiety, fear, and emotional numbness.  Like other types of depression, the list of symptoms is long and affects each person differently.  Postpartum Progress, a widely respected PPD blog, details a list of indications most commonly affecting PPD sufferers.

A woman’s susceptibility to PPD is nearly impossible to pinpoint, as there is very little way of knowing how her mind and body will be affected after her baby is born.  While it is widely believed that PPD may be caused by a variety of factors (hormonal, biological, genetic, psychological, etc.), a small research study of 52 pregnant women done at Johns Hopkins University found changes in the genes of the women who went on to experience some level of postpartum depression.  According to Time Magazine, the scientists involved with the study are actively seeking partners to confirm their findings by studying a larger group of pregnant women for a longer period of time.  If the research proves credible, pregnant women could be a simple blood test away from discovering their likelihood of developing PPD.

Did you experience Post-partum Depression? What advice would you offer a new mom going through it for the first time?

What do you think?

Are You At Risk Of Postpartum Depression?

Jennifer Bruno is a credentialed trainer by day and a freelance writer and aspiring photographer by night. Raised in rural Kansas, Jen moved to sunny Florida after college where she met her husband, who married her despite hearing her sing Dixie Chicks karaoke. Shortly after saying “I do”, they moved to New York City to fulfill their dream of living amongst the bright lights and skyscrapers. They currently share their cramped apartment with two modelesque miniature dachshunds named Millie an ... More

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2 comments

  1. Profile photo of Britney Britney says:

    I had ppd 4 months after my first was born. My advice is to get help as soon as you suspect you have it. Heavy anxiety is a common precursor. I couldn’t even keep food down I was so anxious. It got so bad I was nearly hospitalized and my psychiatrist had to do an immediate intervention. You can’t handle it on your own and it’s not your fault. You haven’t failed in any way. You go to the doctor when you are sick, and you need to do the same now. Get help.

  2. Profile photo of Phammom Phammom says:

    I hope I don’t. I do have a good support group which is important

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