11 Alarming Ways Postpartum Depression Affects a Mother’s Health 

Postpartum depression affects a mother’s health in so many ways.  It’s not simply a phase that a lot of new mothers go through. It’s a serious condition that needs prompt attention, support, and treatment. When uncared for, mothers with this condition can experience a plethora of health symptoms—physically, psychologically, and socially. 

Here, we discuss the common signs and symptoms one in eight mothers go through due to postpartum depression. For those who are experiencing any of these symptoms, seek immediate professional care.

11 Alarming Ways Postpartum Depression Affects a Mother's Health
*This is a guest post and all opinions are those of the author. This post may also contain affiliate and/or paid links. Rest assured that we only work with companies and individuals that we trust. While some of those companies and individuals may work in the medical field, this post is not intended to be a substitution for medical advice. Always speak to your doctor if you have concerns about your mental or physical health.
11 Alarming Ways Postpartum Depression Affects a Mother's Health
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Fatigue and Lethargy

The first few months after giving birth can be some of the most exhausting periods in a new mom’s life. They often need to stay up all night to feed the baby and cope with the new setup at home. While fatigue can feel normal for these new mothers, it’s also a potential symptom of postpartum depression. 

Lethargy often gets the best of many people, especially for mothers of newborns. They can feel tired, exhausted, and weary all the time. Nothing can seem to lift their energy. When this happens, spouses should offer help any way they can.

Unexplained Pain and Body Aches 

The body can go through a lot throughout pregnancy and after giving birth as it returns to its non-pregnant state. This includes getting heartburn and constipation. However, this only often occurs within the postpartum period of three months after delivery. Causing pain long after delivery is another way that postpartum depression affects a mother’s health.

For new mothers who experience unexplained stomach pain or headaches, it’s best to get plenty of rest and consult their doctor on the best course of action to take. 

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Lack of Appetite 

People with depression may find themselves uninterested in eating. This loss of appetite is also one of the reasons they experience other symptoms, such as weakness and fatigue. Since these new mothers lack the proper nutrition, they may get too tired or exhausted to care for their babies. Eventually, it can deteriorate their physical and mental health. 

While babies still get the best nutrition from breast milk, it’s the mothers with postpartum depression that take the blow with this debilitating symptom. 

Urinary Incontinence 

Urinary incontinence, or difficulty in controlling the bladder, is a common health problem among women who have just given birth. This often occurs among those who’ve had a vaginal delivery. While this is normally a temporary problem as the pelvic floor muscles go through the process of recovering, this isn’t the case for some women. 

Long-term postpartum urinary incontinence can contribute to other health-related concerns, such as fatigue, back pain, and depressive symptoms. 

The last thing these mothers need is to feel more down in having to wear bulky adult diapers. There are incontinence undergarments for women that look and feel like regular underwear but have great absorbency. With these garments, they can feel both comfortable and confident wearing them.

Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor Muscles with Perifit
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Excessive Sleeping 

It’s not news that mothers of newborns get sleep deprived for months. Babies need round-the-clock attention, from feeding them to putting them to sleep without making a fuss. With this, new mothers may not feel their best for the first few months postpartum. 

But if sleep deprivation becomes a persistent condition even three months after delivery, this could be a symptom of postpartum depression

It can be difficult to spot this condition, especially when many mothers consider lack of sleep as a normal part of motherhood. But if it already interferes with their way of life, then it may be high time to reach out for help.

Difficulty Focusing and Making Decisions

Early signs of depression among postpartum mothers include having trouble focusing and making decisions. This can start with being forgetful most of the time, not bothering to take a shower, or not knowing which chore to do at home. 

Oftentimes, suddenly forgetting something or losing your train of thought isn’t just the “mom brain” acting up. It can be a serious sign of postpartum depression, and one that needs proper medical attention right away. 

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Difficulty Bonding with the Newborn 

Women with postpartum depression may experience indifference toward their children. They may feel guilty about feeling disconnected from their baby when they shouldn’t. 

Mothers going through this disconcerting situation should understand that this doesn’t mean they’re bad mothers. This is a common symptom of postpartum depression, a clinical diagnosis that needs ample treatment. Otherwise, it could negatively affect the way they deliver care for their child.

Withdrawing from Others 

Postpartum depression affects a mother’s health by isolating them.  People with depression tend to isolate themselves from family and friends. For mothers experiencing this condition postpartum, they may often feel like nobody understands their current situation. Their natural course of action would be to withdraw from others and keep their “depressing” thoughts to themselves. 

When a loved one seems to isolate themselves, it doesn’t hurt to be the one to reach out to them. You may not see it, but a simple act of asking them how they’re doing can make a difference. 

How to Talk About Postpartum Depression
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Feeling Unmotivated 

New mothers may feel unmotivated doing other things, especially when they’re so tired all the time. But if this feeling lingers for a couple of months after giving birth, there may be an underlying psychological cause. 

Women with postpartum depression may lose interest in doing the things they liked doing before giving birth. This may include watching their favorite TV shows, working out, or hanging out with their partner. This sudden shift in mood and habits is something to watch out for. 

Postpartum Psychosis 

When left untreated, postpartum depression may lead to postpartum psychosis. While it’s a rare condition that only occurs in 1 out of 1,000 deliveries, it’s a serious illness that requires immediate medical care. 

Mothers with postpartum psychosis experience a break in reality. This means they start having delusions or hallucinations. They tend to get irritable or hyperactive and get rapid mood swings most of the time. 

This may be caused by a family history of bipolar disorder. It’s also possible that these women have had a previous psychotic episode, even before their delivery. 
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Suicidal Thoughts 

Thoughts of hurting themselves or their baby aren’t new when it comes to postpartum depression. Spouses or family members need to spot such signs right away to keep the mother and the baby safe. Postpartum depression affects a mother’s health in such a severe way that often suicide feels like the only way out. 

It’s a medical emergency, and it’s imperative to seek medical attention the moment they spot the signs. 

Helping a Mother With Postpartum Depression 

People can pass a ton of judgments on new mothers when that’s the last thing they need during such an overwhelming phase of their lives. The best thing for family and friends to do to help women with postpartum depression is to listen and lend a helping hand when they need it. 

Of course, it’s always best to suggest seeking professional help so they can get proper treatment early on.

14 Ways to Help A Mother with Postpartum Depression
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Author Bio

Kimberly Hatcher works with LL Medico and supports Women’s Health by providing information and resources, particularly for postpartum mothers who want to achieve their health and well-being goals.

10 Things Mothers with Postpartum Depression Want You To Know

Postpartum depression, as common as it might be, is widely misunderstood. 

No one knows for certain exactly why mothers get postpartum depression and many aren’t even aware of the symptoms.  If there was less stigma and more mothers felt comfortable enough to speak up about their postpartum depression, perhaps the rest of the world would know about it and find ways to help.

Here’s a list of 10 things that mothers with postpartum depression want you to know.
10 Things Mothers with Postpartum Depression Want You to Know
*This post contains affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust.  **Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.
A List of 10 Things a Mother with Postpartum Depression Wants You to Know

1. We Are Not Bad Mothers

Mothers with postpartum depression are not prone to hurting their babies.  While there have been cases that ended in tragedy – many of those mothers were suffering from postpartum psychosis, which is a much more serious condition.

We might be seen as “bad” mothers because we didn’t bond with our babies right away, or we seem withdrawn from them or avoid holding them.  These are common symptoms of postpartum depression but it does not mean that we want to harm our child or that we don’t love them as much.

If anything, postpartum depression makes us stronger mothers because we have to fight harder to build a mother-child relationship.

You don’t need to take our babies away from us or be concerned about leaving us alone with them.  If we come to you for help and admit what we are feeling – that makes us a better mother, not a bad one. 
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2. It’s Not In Our Head

Postpartum depression is not just a psychological issue – it’s physical pain, it’s chemical imbalances, it’s uncontrollable hormones.  It’s a total body experience and not just something we imagine.

Positive thinking alone will not get rid of postpartum depression.  It’s important to stay positive to help reduce stress which is a big trigger for symptoms, but there is so much more to it than that.  Many women suffer from disruptions in sleep and appetite, headaches and back pains from stress and tension, nausea and debilitating fatigue. 

It might be called a mental illness, but the pain is never just “in our head.”

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3. Nothing We Did Caused This

Postpartum depression is NOT our fault.  A traumatic laborbreastfeeding problems or lack of support are out of our control and not something that we did wrong or could have avoided.  It’s natural to want to find an explanation for what we’re going through and it’s easy to look back on our pregnancies and deliveries and find something to blame for the mess.

While there are several different risk factors that can increase your chances of having postpartum depression, the truth is – even a women with the happiest of pregnancies, easiest of deliveries and biggest support system could still be diagnosed with postpartum depression.  It does not discriminate.

There are studies being conducted to try to determine the cause of postpartum depression but for now – it’s still a mystery as to why some women get it and others do not.

Breastfeeding and Postpartum Depression - What is the Connection?
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4. There Is No Cure

There are plenty of treatment options and ways to control the symptoms but we will never be the same person we were before postpartum depression.

Anti-depressants, therapy, self-care, yoga and meditation, etc., are all important for helping with the symptoms but they will not make postpartum depression go away permanently.  Some women can control their symptoms better than others, but no matter what, we will all have to live with the darkness inside of us for the rest of our lives.

If we’re not careful about following our treatment plans, we could suffer a relapse.

The Postpartum Depression Drug | Brexanolone (Zulresso)
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5. It Can Be Invisible

Just because we don’t seem depressed doesn’t mean we’re not suffering inside. Postpartum depression can be an invisible disease, which means we don’t have a giant scar or walk with a limp but we are in just as much pain.  Mothers with postpartum depression have gotten very good at putting on a smile to hide the pain and avoid the awkward questions.

Thanks to the stigma around postpartum depression, many mothers won’t even admit to having it for fear of what the world will think of them.

Organizations like 2020Mom and The Blue Dot Project are helping to break down the stigma through campaigns like Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week but they will only be successful if mothers with postpartum depression are willing to let the world know that they exist.

9 Reasons Why Mothers Don't Talk About Postpartum Depression
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6. It’s Not The Same As Postpartum Psychosis

Anytime I hear a story about a new mother taking her life and/or her child’s life, the question arises as to whether or not it’s postpartum psychosis.  While postpartum depression can cause mothers to feel suicidal, postpartum psychosis can cause hallucinations during which a mother isn’t even herself. They are two different diseases and psychosis is a severe medical emergency.

Postpartum psychosis leads a mother to have hallucinations and hear voices in their heads.  They are often a danger to themselves and those around them, including their children, because of their unpredictable behavior.  They are not aware of what they are doing, and if left untreated – can end in tragedy.

It’s important to be aware of the symptoms of postpartum psychosis and know the difference.  This article from Postpartum Progress does the best job at explaining it.

Intrusive Thoughts
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7. Don’t Take Things Personally

Postpartum depression can manifest itself in different ways.  Fits of uncontrollable rage is a lesser known symptom and can cause a lot of strain on relationships.

When we are riding the emotional roller coaster that is postpartum depression, it’s easy to lose control and lash out.  But until our symptoms are under control with a proper treatment plan, it’s best not to take the things we say and do personally.

The urge to push people away and withdraw into ourselves is strong with postpartum depression, but that doesn’t mean it’s what we actually want.

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8. It’s easier to talk to strangers

Please don’t feel offended if we don’t want to talk to you about what we’re going through.  It’s much easier to talk to strangers who have been through it before, such as a therapist or online support group.

They understand what we mean and won’t judge us.  We know you don’t mean to judge us, but unless you know what it feels like to be inside the head of a crazy person, you couldn’t possibly understand.

Find a list of numbers you can call to get help for postpartum depression here.

I tried Online Therapy for 30 Days and this is what happened
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9. We Need Your Help

Even if we don’t want to talk to you, we still need your help to get through this. Postpartum depression is a tough fight and it’s even harder to fight alone.  There are so many ways that you can help us, but it’s very hard for us to tell you what they are.  The biggest way that you can help us is by trying to understand what we’re going through. 

And even if you don’t understand, stand by us and support us no matter what.

14 Ways to Help A Mother with Postpartum Depression
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10. Please Don’t Abandon Us

Mothers with postpartum depression make for some of the worst company.  We’re weepy and emotional.  We rarely smile or laugh.  We’re tired all the time, or angry and annoyed.  We dodge your phone calls and cancel dinner plans.  We don’t blame you for not wanting to hang out with us…

Withdrawing from society is a major symptom of postpartum depression and it’s out of our control.

But we hope that, when we do finally feel better, you will still be there waiting for us on the other side of the darkness.


10 Things Moms with Postpartum Depression Want You to Know
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