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Help uncover the signs of postpartum depression

(NC) After the high of the baby shower, decorating the nursery, and leaving the desk at work, many new mums expect the beginning of motherhood to be a time of joy and discovery with their new baby. Unfortunately for many women, the first few months may be a struggle and it can be difficult to express these feelings when you are surrounded by cooing family and friends.

“Postpartum depression affects one in 10 women who have had a child, and can affect any woman, regardless of her age, race, or economic background,” says Dr. Thomas Ungar, chief and medical director of psychology at North York General Hospital. “It does not mean that there is anything wrong with your ability to be a mother.”

Dr. Ungar shares some useful information for new mothers, and those close to new mothers, to help identify postpartum depression:

Signs and symptoms:

• Feelings of sadness or "down"-ness that don't go away;

• Inability to sleep, even when the baby is sleeping;

• Inability to concentrate or make decisions;

• Lack of interest in the baby, friends and family, or things you used to enjoy;

• Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, hopelessness or despair;

• Fear of being a "bad" mother, or that others will think you are;

• Fear that harm will come to the baby;

• Thoughts of harming the baby or of harming yourself;

• Thoughts of death or suicide.


• Talk to your doctor, family member, or friend about your symptoms as soon as possible.

• Speak with a therapist or counsellor, who can help you cope with your feelings and develop stress reduction techniques.

• Join a support group, where you will be able to share your thoughts and feelings in a caring environment.

• Let family and friends help with things like housework or watching older children.

• Eat regular, balanced meals.

• Exercise moderately, (like walking every day).

• Express your thoughts and feelings in a journal, and record changes in your moods.

• Seek urgent or emergency help if you feel unsafe.

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Attention editors: This article is for distribution in Ontario only

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