What is a post-partum mood adjustment?
A post-partum mood adjustment, after the birth of a new baby (post-partum), affects feelings and thoughts (mood) in a way that inhibits healthy functioning in the new family (adjustment).
A brief period of adjustment might include the “Baby Blues” lasting approximately two weeks. After the new baby is two weeks old, if new parents are still experiencing overwhelming thoughts and feelings (e.g. of depression, anxiety, guilt) that impede the function of daily relationships and activities, there may be a post-partum mood adjustment present.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms are specific to the type of post partum mood adjustment being experienced; common symptoms include an inability to sleep, loss of appetite, persistent and intrusive thoughts, and feelings of anxiety, depression, inadequacy, or apathy.
How common are post-partum mood adjustments?
- 15 – 20% of new mothers suffer from postpartum mood adjustment(source: Postpartum Support International).
The most common post-partum mood adjustment is post-partum depression. Currently, 13% of mothers worldwide experience postpartum depression (Misri & Joe, 2008; Stewart et. al, 2003; World Health Organization, 2013). Depression is characterized by low or sad mood, irritability, lack of joy or pleasure, guilt, anxiety, social withdrawal, and appetite and sleep disturbances. For postpartum depression, the experience of the symptoms last for longer than two weeks and generally begin anytime in the first year after birth (American Psychiatric Association, 2000). Unfortunately, postpartum depression often gets lumped in with the more general experience of depression, which can happen throughout a person’s life. However, women often report that the experience of postpartum depression is different because they feel guilt and increased pressure not to ask for help (Bennett & Indman, 2003).
How can I get help for myself or for my partner?
Once identified, post partum mood adjustments are very treatable and NTNC has many services specifically to treat these conditions. Our services are provided by supervised Ph.D. interns and include:
- Donation-based psychotherapy (in home or office): Psychotherapy that focuses on early attachment, perinatal mood adjustments, child development, parenting and family systems.
- New Mothers Therapy Group: A peer therapy group to discuss the emotional ups and downs of being a new parent, in a confidential and safe environment.
- Postpartum Support International: An international “warm-line” that provides you a confidential conversation with an expert that can connect you to local resources in your area.
To begin treatment, call NTNC’s emotional care line at 805.646.7559 ext. 2
- For services in Spanish, contact the Oxnard CLU Community Counseling Center at(805) 493-3059