Is this post-partum depression?

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Is it normal to encounter post partum depression when your baby is about 6 months old? Could this be post partum or just depression?

A: Yes. It is in the normal range for a woman to develop post-partum depression up to a year after giving birth. Post-partum depression is more common than you might think, affecting 15% to 25% of the population. You are not at all alone if you are feeling sad or irritable and wondering why you aren’t happier in what is supposed to be a joyful time in life.

But it could also be that you are feeling depressed for other reasons. Maybe the usual hormonal shifts that follow birth are making it harder for you to cope with things that you would ordinarily deal with quite well. Or maybe the responsibility of this new little person is overwhelming to you. Perhaps the lack of sleep that comes with having an infant is wearing you out and wearing you down. Or maybe other things are happening in your life that are making it hard for you to enjoy your baby.

Since you asked, you must be concerned about how you are feeling. I hope you will seek out a therapist or psychiatrist to help you sort out what is going on and to give you some suggestions for how to get relief. Whatever the cause, feeling down and out of sorts is depriving you and your baby of at least some of the good times and joy of being together.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 23 Oct 2007

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2007). Is this post-partum depression?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 22, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2007/10/23/is-this-post-partum-depression/