Having a brand new baby at home is an overwhelming experience. The helplessness of that tiny package of flesh and blood, its total dependence on you, and the reality of sleeplessness and isolation make most women wonder what they have done to their lives. Up to 85% of post-partum women experience the “blues” for a few days. For some, it is longer and more serious. How do you know the difference between ‘baby blues” and “post-partum depression or anxiety?”

If you have had a baby within the last 12 months and are experiencing some of the following symptoms, you would benefit from some professional care.

  • Feeling completely overwhelmed, that you will never be able to be an adequate mother.
  • Questioning whether you should have had a baby in the first place.
  • Feeling guilt because you think you should be handling new motherhood better than this.
  • Feeling like your baby deserves better, and worrying that your baby can tell how you feel.
  • Worrying that you don’t feel the happiness or connection to your baby you thought you would.
  • Thinking your baby would be better off without you.
  • Not feeling bonded to your baby.
  • Doubting you have a maternal instinct.
  • Feeling you can’t understand why this is happening
  • Feeling confused and scared.
  • Feel irritated or intense anger or resentment toward your baby, your partner, and your friends who don’t have babies.
  • Feeling nothing but emptiness and numbness. You are just going through the motions.
  • Feeling intense sadness… you can’t stop crying, even when there’s no real reason to be crying.
  • Feeling hopeless, like this situation will never ever get better. Feeling weak and defective, like a failure.
  • Not eating, or eating all the time.
  • Not sleeping, or sleeping all the time.
  • Having difficulty concentrating, thinking of the words you want to say, struggling with memory.
  • Feeling strangely disconnected from everyone, like there’s an invisible wall between you and the rest of the world.
  • Thoughts of running away and leaving your family behind
  • Thoughts of driving off the road, taking too many pills, or finding some other way to end your misery.
  • Having racing thoughts… you can’t quiet your mind, relax or can’t settle down.
  • Feeling like you have to be doing something at all times.
  • Worrying all the time. “Am I doing this right? Will my husband come home from his trip? Will the baby wake up? Is the baby eating enough? Is there something wrong with my baby that I’m missing?” No matter what anyone says to reassure you, it doesn’t help.
  • Disturbing thoughts you’ve never had before. Scary thoughts that make you wonder whether you aren’t the person you thought you were.
  • Feeling afraid to be alone with your baby because of scary thoughts or worries. You may also be afraid of things in your house that could potentially cause harm, like kitchen knives or stairs, and avoid them as much as possible
  • Physical symptoms like stomach cramps, headaches, shakiness or nausea.
  • Feeling a sense of dread, like something terrible is going to happen.
  • Knowing something is wrong, thinking you’ve “gone crazy.”
  • Fear that this is your new reality and that you’ve lost the “old you” forever.
  • Fear that if you reach out for help, people will judge you or take your baby away from you.

* List adapted from Postpartum Progress

If a number of these sound like you, please take action. This can be a scary and dangerous situation, but it is one that responds very well to treatment. You do not have to struggle with this alone. Come talk to us. We can help you sort out what is within the range of normal experience, and what treatment will help you.