Postpartum depression is a type of mood disorder associated with childbirth, occurring in both mothers and fathers. It involves feelings of extreme sadness, anxiety, and exhaustion that can make it challenging for the new parents to complete daily care activities. Unlike the “baby blues,” postpartum depression lasts longer, is more intense, and may require medical intervention.

Key Takeaways

  1. Postpartum depression is a type of mood disorder associated with childbirth. It can affect both sexes and symptoms can include extreme sadness, low energy, anxiety, crying episodes, irritability, and changes in sleeping or eating patterns.
  2. It’s not a character flaw or a weakness. Sometimes it’s simply a complication of giving birth. If you have postpartum depression, prompt treatment can help you manage your symptoms and help prevent a more severe, long-term condition.
  3. Postpartum depression isn’t always noticeable immediately following childbirth. It can start out as the “baby blues” and gradually develop into a more intense and long-lasting form of depression. Mothers affected by postpartum depression can feel incapable or undeserving of taking care of their child. Such feelings highlight the importance of seeking help and treatment at the earliest sign of symptoms.


The term “postpartum depression” is important because it refers to a serious mental health issue that can affect mothers after childbirth.

It is characterized by a prolonged period of emotional disturbance, ranging from mood swings, anxiety, sadness to severe depression, and it can interfere with the mother’s ability to care for herself or her new baby.

Recognizing and understanding postpartum depression is crucial to provide necessary support and adequate interventions for the affected mothers, ensuring the health and well-being of both mother and child.

Postpartum depression also breaks the stigma around mental health issues associated with motherhood, promoting open conversation and early diagnosis.


Postpartum depression signifies an essential recognition in the realm of maternal health, indicative of the emotional and psychological challenges that a new mother may face after giving birth. Its primary purpose is to identify, understand, and address the serious mood disorders that can affect women after childbirth, paving a way for more comprehensive postnatal care.

Despite the common notion that motherhood should only elicit feelings of joy and contentment, postpartum depression recognizes the legitimacy of contrasting, often overlooked postnatal emotions, and highlights the need for their proper management. It confronts the societal stigma associated with these feelings and urges for empathetic understanding and professional help.

This term further serves as the cornerstone for effective mental health interventions, stimulating proactive steps for the prevention, timely diagnosis, and appropriate treatment of such conditions. It engenders much-needed conversations about maternal mental health, propelling the modification of healthcare protocols to include mental health screenings and counseling in regular postnatal check-ups.

By acknowledging postpartum depression, the medical and social community seeks to mitigate the risk factors, provide support to affected mothers, and ultimately enhance the overall quality of maternal and family health. Thus, postpartum depression isn’t defined by its symptoms alone, but it’s significance lies in its role to foster more holistic and nurturing environments for new mothers.

Examples of Postpartum depression

Brooke Shields: The actress has been very open about her own struggles with postpartum depression following the birth of her first daughter in

She experienced intense mood swings, feelings of worthlessness, and a lack of interest in her child, and struggled to understand why she was not feeling the joy of motherhood she had expected. She has since written a book detailing her battle with postpartum depression to bring awareness to the issue.

Adele: The British singer revealed that she had experienced postpartum depression after the birth of her son in

She felt scared, constant guilt, and was afraid that she had made the worst decision of her life to become a mother. However, with time and professional help, she was able to defeat her inner feelings.

Chrissy Teigen: In 2016, following the birth of her daughter, the model and author experienced severe postpartum depression. She opened up to discuss her experience, including feeling physically unwell, experiencing reduced appetite, insomnia, and a loss of motivation. Recognizing her symptoms as postpartum depression, she enlisted the help of medical professionals and began her journey towards recovery.

FAQs about Postpartum Depression

What is Postpartum Depression?

Postpartum depression is a serious mental health condition that affects women after childbirth. It involves feelings of extreme sadness, anxiety, and exhaustion that can interfere with a mother’s ability to care for herself or her baby.

What are the symptoms of Postpartum Depression?

Symptoms of postpartum depression can include feeling sad or depressed, crying more often than usual, feeling hopeless or overwhelmed, having trouble bonding with your baby, or losing interest in activities you once enjoyed.

How common is Postpartum Depression?

Postpartum depression is common, affecting about 1 in 7 women. Many women experience mild symptoms, but for some, the condition can be severe.

What causes Postpartum Depression?

Postpartum depression is caused by a combination of physical and emotional factors. The dramatic drop in hormones after childbirth can lead to mood swings, while the stress of caring for a newborn can also contribute to feelings of depression.

How is Postpartum Depression treated?

Postpartum depression is treated with a combination of medication and therapy. Antidepressants can help manage the symptoms of depression, while cognitive-behavioral therapy or interpersonal therapy can help you cope with your feelings, solve problems, and set realistic goals.

Can Postpartum Depression be prevented?

While it’s not always possible to prevent postpartum depression, there are steps you can take to protect yourself. These include taking care of your physical health, avoiding isolation, asking for help, setting realistic expectations, and trying to maintain a stable mood.

What should I do if I think I have Postpartum Depression?

If you believe you might be experiencing postpartum depression, it’s important to seek medical help immediately. Reach out to your healthcare provider, a mental health professional, or a trusted friend or family member to express your feelings and concerns.

Related Motherhood Terms

  • Postnatal Anxiety
  • Baby Blues
  • Perinatal Mood Disorders
  • Lactation Difficulties
  • Postpartum Psychosis

Sources for More Information