What Causes Postpartum Depression?

by | Nov 15, 2022 | Postpartum Therapy

You’ve recently given birth. You find yourself feeling sad or empty, maybe a little restless. You don’t have energy during the day, no motivation to do anything. You might be eating too little or, on the contrary, more than you used to. It’s the same with sleep: you either sleep too much or not at all. You can’t focus, and you feel terrible about yourself.

If you’ve been feeling this way, you might be dealing with postpartum depression. Postpartum depression is similar to baby blues, except it lasts longer and the symptoms are more intense. It can stay with you for months, sometimes even a year. If you find yourself experiencing postpartum depression, you might be wondering why, especially if other mothers around you didn’t go through the same thing. There are many reasons why you might be feeling this way, so let’s go through some of them.


Hormonal Changes

When you give birth, your hormone levels change, particularly estrogen, progesterone, and thyroid. You go back to the levels your body used to have before you got pregnant. The sudden change in these hormone levels can leave you feeling a little off. You might find you’re tired more often, maybe a little sluggish. You don’t have a lot of motivation to do anything.

These feelings are similar to some aspects of postpartum depression, and it’s very likely they worsen your experience with it.

Related Stress

Having a baby is wonderful, but it can also be stressful. Adapting to the new routine can be exhausting. You might find yourself feeling overwhelmed, maybe a little exhausted. You’ll have to adapt to having much less free time than you used to.

In addition to these changes, you’ll also have to deal with your own emotions about being a parent. You might doubt yourself much more than before. You might feel the pressure of having to be a perfect mother. You’ll also look in the mirror and feel you’re less attractive now than you used to be. It’s possible you might be dealing with grief about who you were.

None of this makes you a bad parent, but it does feed your postpartum depression—it contributes to it.


Lack of Support

It’s important that we find a good support network for ourselves. Being able to reach out to friends or family for help can be a lifesaver. But not all of us are lucky enough to be able to rely on the people around us. Sometimes, problems with our friends or family can show up at times when what we need the most is their support. It’s the same with our partners; we might find ourselves dealing with trouble in our relationship when that’s the last thing we need.

Having a child is an expensive thing, and money problems can cause us a lot of stress. It’s not a minor problem either, and financial troubles affect much more than just our mental health.

Lacking support, whether it’s social or financial support, can contribute to us developing postpartum depression. This can hit us particularly hard, especially if we feel like we’re dealing with all these stressors on our own.

History of Depression

A history of depression, whether it’s personal or someone in our family, can also heavily contribute to us developing postpartum depression. It’s not a guarantee, of course, but it’s still something to keep in mind if we haven’t yet given birth but are preparing for it.

It might sound scary, but postpartum depression isn’t an impossible battle. Whatever is behind it, it’s important to know that it’s possible to get better. If you find yourself struggling, and you need additional help to get through this, don’t hesitate to book an appointment. We can help you navigate this difficult period and leave postpartum depression in the past.

To learn more about how Mindful Reflections can help, check out our Postpartum Therapy page.

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