Having a baby is a hard enough of an experience for most women. No wonder it is called ‘labor’. There is more ignorance around the period after birth than the birth itself because the hormonal, physiological, and psychological shifts that occur after birth put the new mother in a vulnerable state. Postpartum depression is easily recognized when the more obvious signs like excessive crying and withdrawal kick in. There are, however, less known symptoms of this condition that it is good to watch out for and take care of it appropriately.
Feelings of guilt or shame
This can happen — a new mother that does not feel good enough in her new role as a parent. Thinking that something is wrong with you and limits your capacity to be a good parent can be a hidden form of postpartum depression. It could be that the new mother feels uncomfortable sharing her thoughts with others.
It is hard to bring any reassurance to a person suffering from postpartum depression. Any kind of verbal support may feel like a lie or just a good word from well-wishers at best.
It could be that the fantasies of a trip somewhere are just a mere comparison to the kinds of thoughts that postpartum trauma can bring out. New mothers could have thoughts of running away and not coming back or even committing suicide.
Many new mothers suffering from this syndrome could have constant feelings of being overwhelmed with their new responsibilities. They could feel the burden of motherhood stronger than it actually is and views the birth of their babies as a mistake on their part.
Disconnected from the baby
It is normal for some mother-baby bonds to form with time. It is a whole another deal when the mother does not even want to look or care for her new baby. This could also come as a resentment towards the baby. Both could be yet another sign of postpartum depression in which the mother just needs professional care.
Worried of baby’s impressions
The concern of not being cut out for a mother could manifest as a worry that the baby will judge the behaviors of the parent in some way. The mother could believe that the baby does not love her for being in such a low state of feeling and performance.
Carrying and delivering a baby are difficult, and if postpartum depression follows it can be difficult to recover without a strong support system. If you have recently had a baby and are now finding it difficult to process your emotions, please reach out for help as soon as possible.
The International Postpartum Support International hotline can be reached at 800.944.4PPD (4773)
Herrick Lipton is the CEO of New Horizon Counseling Center in New York and is also an advocate for mental health. For more information about Herrick or to get in touch with New Horizon Counseling Center for resources, please visit nhcc.us or call 718-845-2620.