1. The “baby blues” don’t improve. It’s normal to have a decline in your mood within the first two weeks post birth. Your hormones are changing and this drastic shift in your hormones can cause you to have mood swings. However, your mood should start to improve after those two weeks. If you’re still experiencing sadness, depression, guilt, anxiety, and feelings of hopelessness that are intensifying, then this might be a sign of PPD. Also, it is important to note that the onset can be early or late and might not follow this two-week rule.

  1. Having symptoms of depression and anxiety. Although you may experience symptoms of depression such as sadness, hopelessness, and worthlessness, you may also experience symptoms of anxiety and feel overwhelmed. You don’t just feel overwhelmed at one particularly hard moment, but most or all of the time. Reassurance from others also does not seem to improve the situation.
  2. Worrying about not being a good mom. Of course, this is something that everyone worries about at one point or another. It is also common among mothers whose babies have illnesses or were born with special needs. However, if this is not your situation and you are experiencing constant doubts about yourself and excessive worry, this could mean something more.
  3. You feel consumed by sadness or guilt. If you’re experiencing crying spells, feeling unhappy about yourself as a parent, or feeling you’re bad or worthless and don’t deserve to be a mom, you might be experiencing PPD. You might worry that others will judge you and that you could have your baby taken away.
  4. Not loving your baby or feeling bonded. You may not feel affection towards your baby and or feel any bond with him or her. This goes beyond taking a while to bond with your baby, which is normal. You might not want to look at your baby or even take care of him/her.
  5. Chronic somatic complaints. Headaches, stomachaches, and general feeling of body achiness that are frequent and chronic may be indications of something beyond normal adjustment to motherhood.
  6. You lose interest in things you enjoy. Do you still enjoy spending quality time with your partner or eating your favorite food? If you no longer enjoy things that used to bring you enjoyment, then these changes in moods and habits might be an indicator.
  7. Anger and irritability. Being irritable and snapping at your partner, the baby, relatives, friends, or anyone who comes near you. You could resent your baby for the way you are feeling.
  8. You have trouble making decisions and can’t focus. You feel like you can’t think straight, and just don’t care. You can’t decide to get out of bed, take a shower, or be bothered with changing a dirty diaper. There may be a lack of motivation to care for yourself or your baby.
  9. Changes in sleep and/or appetite. You’re not eating much or getting the proper nutrition and your energy is depleted. You may not even rest when your child is sleeping or alternatively, be sleeping all the time.
  10. You’ve had big, stressful changes in your life. Frequent discord between you and your partner, a death in the family, problems getting along with family, and other stressful events like these can worsen your sadness and trigger PPD.
  11. You think about harming yourself or the baby. You might fantasize about driving away and never coming back, thinking your family is better off without you. You may have thoughts of killing yourself as a way of escape. You may also think about hurting your baby. You could also start to experience hallucinations and delusions as part of postpartum psychosis. These are advanced symptoms of PPD. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms you should speak with a qualified professional. If you are having thoughts of suicide and are in crisis, you need to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255 or call 911 and explain that you cannot keep yourself safe from harm.