Also called Postnatal Depression, what are the symptoms associated with Postpartum Depression?

(We think this is a common question, and appears to be conspicuously absent from the question list. We're interested in both technical answers with references, and personal anecdotes.)

asked 20 Jan '10, 16:25

Scott's gravatar image

Scott ♦♦
accept rate: 10%

I can offer my own personal experiences and thoughts regarding the topic of "Post Natal Depression, partly because it is my belief that if something is hormonal, it is likely to effect individuals in many different ways and at many different levels of severity.

I woke from my C-section somewhat prepared mentally. I knew I was going to tearful, particularly around my mother, I had been living away from the U.K for many years and of course missed her, but the moment I held my daughter in my arms, I felt my mothers warmth surround us, and this made me exceptionally emotional.

A couple of days later, I was out of the hospital and on my way home. I kept having a conversation with myself, as I said mentally I was prepared for the roller coaster ride. I hadn't suffered from depression before, and as a "Polly Anna" type of character I was always jovial full of energy. The first few days passed without much ado. My breastfeeding was not quite there, I kept trying, I just couldn't get the latch right, then I would, and it would feel heavenly.

Mum and my husband were great, supportive and between them I felt secure and cared for. Then somethings began to go horribly wrong. My Mother in law would sit next to me while I was breastfeeding, and comment, and interfere physically, "Was I holding the baby in the correct position, was she getting enough milk, was she latched on properly." I began to feel irritated, very hot, and I would start feeling nervous. My husband and Mum would do their best to keep her away from me during feeding times.

The problem was we were not used to having her around so much. Suddenly here she was in the centre of it all. It began to dawn on me that things would get worse quickly, particularly as my mother would be going back to the U.K at some point and I felt helpless.

Like a case study I watched myself slip deeper and deeper into a depression with no control day by day. Part of me felt angry that I couldn't help myself from feeling like that, the other part of me tried hard verbalize my emotions so as to avoid running into problems with my husband.

After my husband went back to work full time, and my mother went back to the U.K I found myself dreading the sound of the doorbell. Each time my mother in law came I would end up in tears. It was as though I didn't exist, she was coming to visit her grand child. I was stupid enough to try and explain that her behavior was pushing me somewhere I didn't want to be, but unfortunately this didn't do any good. This lasted for about a year. I am surprised that I was able to last that long, because I get goose bumps as I write this now.

If you are wondering why I was so nervous I will try to give an example of her adamant character. Our paediatrician was happy with our daughters development, my breastfeeding was fine and she was putting on weight. My mother in law however insisted on feeding the baby water and fruit juice. Not having control and not being able to trust that she would do we asked made life hell. I remember offering her some ice cream during the summer, my daughter was about 4 months at the time and she said that we should give the baby some. I politely said no and went to the kitchen, upon my return my daughter had ice-cream around her mouth. How could we let her babysit, she would do whatever she felt was right, and this for me seem unacceptable at the time. I felt like I simply had no control over what she felt was right for our baby.

My depression was caused by feeling alone, and not having anyones support, and lasted approximately 1 year. I think had my husband not been so supportive and understanding things would have gotten worse. Not having a supportive network of people, of living in a country where (at the time) child car seats were not compulsory by law, combined with the tiredness and inexperience of being an insecure new mum made me suffer rather badly.


answered 20 Jan '10, 18:49

Emi's gravatar image

accept rate: 19%

edited 20 Jan '10, 22:56

  • very well written, though do you mean personal rather than personnel
(20 Jan '10, 22:47) Rich Seller

@Rich Seller Thanks for pointing it out :) yes I meant personal. (I think I was a bit nervous writing such a long and personal answer that I didn't check the spelling. Funny its the first time I have written about the experience since it happened and it felt good.

(20 Jan '10, 22:56) Emi

Wow, great personal experience, and it's absolutely helpful to new mothers. Thanks!

(21 Jan '10, 01:18) Scott ♦♦

For me it was mood swings, irritability, and unprovoked, uncontrollable crying. But I also live with clinical depression, so I may not have had true post-partum depression. Whatever it was, once I realized I had a problem, I called my OB's office and spoke with her head nurse who asked more questions about what I was experiencing.


answered 20 Jan '10, 18:17

mkcoehoorn's gravatar image

accept rate: 8%

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Asked: 20 Jan '10, 16:25

Seen: 3,861 times

Last updated: 20 Jan '10, 22:56