We've all known women who've had it rough after having a baby. Maybe we are those women. But about 15 percent will deal with something more. They'll deal with postpartum depression.
Beth Anne (who asked that her last name not be used) of Raleigh, NC felt very capable for several weeks after her son was born. Then he spent the next four months crying. Beth Anne sank into despair.
"I wanted to snap out of it. I went out with girlfriends, had date nights with my husband and bought a few new outfits. I had everything that should equal a perfect life. And I still was not happy. I felt like a failure."
Lily (who asked that her last name not be used) of Calgary, Alberta, Canada lay welcoming a baby in her arms a few hours after he was born. She was devastated when nurses ran in to take him, apologizing for bringing her the wrong one.
"When they did show up with my baby I was still feeling so guilty that as a mother I wouldn't even know my own child. Then as they put him in my arms, I looked down at him and I felt NOTHING. He looked up at me and started to cry but the crying sounded more like growling, and I felt more distant from him than ever."
Katherine Stone is founder of Postpartum Progress, a blog for and by women dealing with PPD. Stone expected to handle the transition to motherhood. But the adjustment didn't happen.
"I cried over everything, and I was convinced for some reason that my son wouldn't love me.Then, at about seven weeks postpartum I started having intrusive thoughts like 'what if I drop my son down the stairs?' or 'what if I drown him in the bathtub?' These thoughts freaked me out, as you might imagine, and at that point I was convinced I'd gone crazy."
In the midst of depression you may fear that you're not a good person, that you're weak. You "should" be able to handle it all.
But many physiological factors are involved here.
After the birth, your hormone levels change dramatically. Blood pressure and volume are affected. Your immune system and metabolism undergoes major readjustment.
Very little is as it was.
If you've lost your appetite and your libido, you could have postpartum depression.