When to Call for Help
If the stress is too much or becomes more severe (leading to depression), seek professional assistance. You should call your doctor if you experience any of the following:
Lethargy or the inability to motivate yourself to do much except meet the baby's primary needs
Periods of moodiness or irritability that lead to further depression
Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
Crying jags or periods of sadness that do not go away easily.
All of these symptoms are signs of postpartum depression (PPD), a condition that affects about 10 to 15 percent of new moms (although that number could be considerably higher, since many are afraid to tell anyone what they're experiencing).
Another form of this disorder is postpartum psychosis, which affects a very small percentage of the population but has symptoms of wishing to harm yourself or the baby. These thoughts are serious enough to warrant immediate attention (and intervention). Call for help if you experience such thoughts; with professional help, it is absolutely possible to overcome this disorder!
Is It PPD … or “Baby Blues”?
Postpartum depression is different from the more common (and shorter-lasting) “baby blues,” which typically occur within days of the birth and last a maximum of two weeks. With PPD, a new mother experiences depression that cannot be alleviated without the use of antidepressants, or therapy, or, in some cases, both.
Risk factors for PPD include problems with your marriage, depression or anxiety during the pregnancy (or a stressful event), lack of support from your partner or significant others, a history of premenstrual syndrome, or a previous case of PPD.