There are so many images of postpartum joy, especially of a mother delighting in her baby. None of the images portray a sleep deprived mother worn down by physical and hormonal changes and new responsibilities. It can come as a shock if the positive images fail to materialize for you when you hold your baby for the first time, or some time later the love and joy you felt at first is tempered with postpartum reactions such as tearfulness, despondency, depression, anxiety, guilt, irritability or intrusive, repetitive thoughts.
Certain factors may increase your risk of depression during and after pregnancy:
- A personal history of depression or another mental illness
- A family history of depression or another mental illness
- A lack of support from family and friends
- Anxiety or negative feelings about the pregnancy
- Problems with a previous pregnancy or birth
- Marriage or money problems
- Stressful life events
- Young age
- Substance abuse
Prenatal and postpartum depression are very responsive to talk therapy.
Please feel free to contact me at my Chico, CA office with any questions.