Postpartum Mood Disorders

Many women experience a roller coaster of emotions after having a baby, from joy and elation to worry and sadness. Mix big feelings with limited sleep and meeting the needs of a new baby, and new parenthood can feel overwhelming at times.

Having a baby is a life-changing experience, and around 85% of women experience some kind of mood disturbance postpartum.[1]  Despite being so common, postpartum mood disturbances are not always talked about, leaving some women to feel alone and wondering if they are good enough mothers. Talking openly about your postpartum experiences with others going through the same thing can combat feelings of isolation and shame. Going to a La Leche League meeting is a great place to find other new mothers to share experiences with.

Sometimes the emotional changes that come after a new baby become postpartum mood disorders. The baby blues, the most common postpartum mood disorder, is short lived and goes away on its own..[2]  For some women, however, these mood changes do not go away on their own. Postpartum depression, anxiety, and psychosis are treatable conditions and help is available. You do not need to deal with them on your own. If you are worried about your mood, speak to your healthcare provider.

These organizations provide support for, and information on, postpartum mental health:

Postpartum Support International
http://www.postpartum.net

The Seleni Institute
www.seleni.org

The Postpartum Resource Center of New York, Inc.
www.postpartumny.org

Postpartum Progress
www.postpartumprogress.org

MGH Center for Women’s Mental Health
www.womensmentalhealth.org

PANDA Foundation – UK based support
http://www.pandasfoundation.org.uk/

[1] Massachusets General Hospital Centet for Women’s Mental Health, “Post Partum Psychiatric Disorders,” copyright 2015, accessed from https://womensmentalhealth.org/specialty-clinics/postpartum-psychiatric-disorders/

[2] Id. Noting that an estimated  50-85% of women experience post partum blues