After childbirth you may feel sad, weepy, and overwhelmed for a few days. Many new mothers have the "baby blues" after giving birth. Changing hormones, anxiety about caring for the baby, and lack of sleep all affect your emotions.
Be patient with yourself. These feelings are normal and usually go away quickly. But if sadness lasts more than two weeks, go see your doctor. Don't wait until you postpartum visit to do so. You might have a serious but treatable condition called postpartum depression. Postpartum depression can happen any time within the first year after birth.
Signs of postpartum depression include:
• Feeling restless or irritable
• Feeling sad, depressed, or crying a lot
• Having no energy
• Having headaches, chest pains, heart palpitations (the heart being fast and feeling like it is skipping beats), numbness, or hyperventilation (fast and shallow breathing)
• Not being able to sleep, being very tired, or both
• Not being able to eat and weight loss
• Overeating and weight gain
• Trouble focusing, remembering, or making decisions
• Being overly worried about the baby
• Not having any interest in the baby
• Feeling worthless and guilty
• Having no interest or getting no pleasure from activities like sex and socializing
• Thoughts of harming your baby or yourself
Some women don't tell anyone about their symptoms because they feel embarrassed or guilty about having these feelings at a time when they think they should be happy. Don't let this happen to you! Postpartum depression can make it hard to take care of your baby. Infants with mothers with postpartum depression can have delays in learning how to talk. They can have problems with emotional bonding. Your doctor can help you feel better and get back to enjoying your new baby. Therapy and/or medicine can treat postpartum depression. Get more details on postpartum depression in our Depression during and after pregnancy fact sheet.
Emerging research suggests that 1 in 10 new fathers may experience depression during or after pregnancy. Although more research is needed, having depression may make it harder to be a good father and perhaps affect the baby's development. Having depression may also be related to a mother's depression. Expecting or new fathers with emotional problems or symptoms of depression should talk to their doctors. Depression is a treatable illness.