Help Available for New Moms Suffering From Postpartum Depression

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa  --  It's normal for new moms to be tired, have trouble eating, and cry at some point, but there are signs this could be something more serious.

Amelia Yule knew parenting would have its challenges. "It's rough. Some babies sleep better than others. I have rough sleepers," she said.

But she wasn't prepared for this. "All of a sudden, my arms would feel numb. I'd have these waves of panic. It was just terrifying. I felt like I couldn't catch my breath and I didn't know what was going on," she said.

She was suffering from postpartum depression. The symptoms started five days after her first baby was born. "My first thought was what is going on, what's wrong with me? Am I always going to feel this way?" she said.

Yule knew it was more than the baby blues, which affects about 80% of new moms. She made an appointment with UnityPoint Counseling and Psychiatry to get help.

Senior Therapist Donna Richard-Langer said, "It's very similar to other areas of major depressive disorder in that we find low mood. There's usually some guilt, some insecurity about who they are and are they competent to be here, to be a mom."

Postpartum depression can set in during the baby's first year and affects 12-14% of new moms. Women with low moods, who are scared or worried, not eating or sleeping well, and having self-loathing thoughts for a stretch of two weeks should contact their doctor.

Richard-Langer added, "I'm even seeing more postpartum anxiety. That's another one that can be up to 15% of moms that are just worried. And the worry almost incapacitates them."

Yule said the counseling helped her, along with creating a self-care plan. She has a message for new moms going through what she did. "It does get better. It's not permanent. It's temporary. You just have to reach out and find that help."

Postpartum support groups are becoming more common as the stigma of postpartum depression goes away. You can find more information about how to get help on UnityPoint’s website.