Understanding Postpartum Depression

80% to 85% of new mom's will experience some kind of "baby blues" after they give birth.

Typically mom's can feel sad, worthless, and even disconnected from their new bundles of joy.

Lynn Hartje, Director of Mental Health Services at Helen Farabee explains, "Postpartum Depression is that typical set of symptoms we see when someone is depressed. Feeling sad, suicidal, feeling all those things that begin to impact a person's life."

Irma Escobeto, a new mom knows all about Postpartum Depression. "I was having anxiety attacks and I was crying more often, more frequently, and I just couldn't function."

She explains, " I had to force myself to even get up in the mornings to take a shower, I didn't want to eat, I just didn't feel like doing anything and nothing provided any sort of comfort for me. and I wasn't bonding with my baby as I should, as I thought I should."

Hartje says that the "baby blues" can transform into a postpartum depression for about 35% of new mom's. But if mothers don't seek treatment, disaster can happen and the postpartum depression can mutate into a postpartum psychosis.

According to Hartje, "Psychosis is when you go through a set of symptoms that you don't see realistically. You may believe that you need to kill your children, that's clearly psychotic and that's something that is a split from reality."

Though it's rare, it does happen. And it is up to the new moms and her support group to understand that treatment needs to happen fast.

"With the appropriate medication they are back on the feet and back to normal fairy quickly," says Hartje.

Irma agrees. Before medication, she didn't think that she would ever get better. Now, with steady use of medication, Irma is better, happier than ever before. But she wants to speak out and let all new mom's know, that it's ok to feel the blues as long as you get help.

"Definitely get help, definitely speak to your family about it" says Escobeto, "and they will help you whenever way they can."

New families should also make sure that the mother's and baby's environment is stress free.

Hartje says there is a clear link between how stressful a person's life is and the severity of symptoms.

Counselors say that all new moms should consider how frequent and intense their episodes are. If the blues last more than 2 weeks, seek treatment. Also, if the intensity is strong, contact a medical professional.