Postpartum depression or baby blues? -

Postpartum depression or baby blues?

Many women suffer from postpartum depression after they have a baby, and it can be hard for a woman to know whether her baby blues really do equal depression.

"I mean, I knew I wasn't feeling myself, but am I supposed to feel myself after I have this new addition?" said Jessica Taylor-Diller, who gave birth to her daughter six years ago. "I mean, I was also a single mother, so it made it even harder. I didn't know how it was supposed to be, especially since it was my first."

Jessica's daughter was more than six months old before Jessica was diagnosed with postpartum depression.

"One day I just told my doctor I wasn't feeling right. I was feeling depressed and down and I couldn't breathe too well, actually. It was my anxiety that was kicking in," she said.

Doctor Charla Spencer, an OB/GYN, says there's a big difference between what she calls "the baby blues" and postpartum depression.

"About half of all women will have baby blues; 10 to 20 percent of women who have had a baby will suffer from true postpartum depression," Spencer said. "And the real difference between the baby blues and the depression is the severity of the symptoms and the length of the symptoms."

Symptoms last beyond your baby's first few weeks and include not bonding well with the baby, not being able to get out of bed in the morning, and having intense mood swings and anger.

And while Spencer says there are medicines doctors can diagnose a woman who is breastfeeding, counseling may be an answer to treatment.

"The predisposing factor is very similar for all patients," she said. "They just had a baby, they're not sleeping, they don't know what they're doing. My husband still has to go to work. Finances are going to be different. So all of those factors are the same, and just being able to go to some counseling occasionally and learn some stress management skills and some coping skills might be all you need to do."

Spencer says it's essential that women lean on their support networks and talk to their doctors when they first see their symptoms arise.

"When you're in the midst of a profound depression and you don't bond with anybody, and those weeks don't come back again. You cannot have those early weeks with those babies again, and that bonding process makes so much difference," said Spencer.

"If I would have just spoken to my doctor a little sooner about what exactly I had, then I would have been able to be diagnosed sooner, have help sooner," said Taylor-Diller.

Dr. Spencer said it's important to realize postpartum depression isn't a stigma. It's a hormonal shift in the body.

She also recommends that women give family members permission to call their doctor if they see symptoms of depression that they feel need to be treated.

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