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Depression happens sometimes.  It is not anyone's fault and seeking help is not weakness.  It takes a strong person to admit they need help and then seek it out.

"When I was depressed, I had no motivation to do anything, not even the things I usually loved to do.  All I wanted to do was sleep.  I often felt that was I unlovable, worthless, a burden to others, and a bad mother for not wanting to care for my baby.  It was like being stuck in a deep, dark hole with no way out.  I felt like I was losing my mind, losing who I was." Roxana*

"I thought about suicide, I didn't really want to die.  I just wanted to stop feeling this way.  I was normally a caring person and excited about being a mommy, but when I was depressed, I cared little about my new baby, husband, myself, anyone or anything." Julia*

* Names have been changed

 

The first 2-6 weeks new moms and even dads may feel down, despite the happy occasion.  This feeling called "Baby Blues", if it happens, is not uncommon and temporary. 

However if it persists for more than 6 weeks and is accompanied with any or all of the following listed below contact your health care provider, religious, or spiritual leader.

  • severe change in sleep patterns (not caused by baby)

  • appetite 

  • weight lose or gain (not caused by pregnancy/delivery) 

  • feelings of despair, hopelessness, sadness, and worthlessness

  • suicidal thoughts or feelings

  • little or no interest in baby

According to the World Health Organization, "depression results from a complex interaction of social, psychological and biological factors."  If depression is suspected seek professional help.  Depression is something anyone can manage and recover from with medication, both eastern and western modalities, and counseling by a mental-health professional.   Find a supportive network of family or friends, record your thoughts and feelings in a journal, and participate in spiritual activities if that helps.  New moms and dads should not feel alone, ashamed, or worthless after birth.  Do not keep your feelings and thoughts bottled up inside, resources are available to help. 

** Recognize that depressed moms/dads may find it hard to express their feelings or may not understand what is happening to them.  The mom/dad may not even be aware of the symptoms of depression.  Take seriously any comments and/or hints regarding suicide and seek help for your loved one.