The period after giving birth can feel like a wild ride. Adjustments come after every birth—the schedule change, caring for a new human, not to mention the hormonal and physical changes accompanying it.
Most people have heard of the baby blues, which describes a period of temporary sadness as the mother adjusts to the baby being outside of the womb. And a lot of people have heard of postpartum depression or anxiety. Both of which last beyond the first two to three weeks after birth.
Many people, however, have not heard of postpartum psychosis. Even though this condition is not as common as any of the ones described above, knowing what this condition means is equally important.
What Is Postpartum Psychosis?
Typically, postpartum psychosis begins developing a few days after giving birth. However, it can sometimes take up to six weeks for the mother to begin having these symptoms manifest.
Signs & Symptoms Of Postpartum Psychosis
Remember that having a low mood is not just a sign of postpartum psychosis; it can also be a sign of postpartum depression. When someone experiences this, they often feel either sad, anxious, or empty. The mother may withdraw from social circles, family, or even her partner. Sleep may be something that is hard to come by, even when the baby is sleeping.
Intense Moods Or Manic Episo
A sign of postpartum psychosis is episodes of intense or manic moods. These are characterized by someone being extremely elated or very irritable. They will often include being really overactive and energetic, which is exhibited through talking as well as physical activity. Someone who has postpartum psychosis may alternate pretty rapidly between high and low moods.
This is one of the biggest signs that someone is going through postpartum psychosis and not just depression or anxiety. A woman will experience hallucinations, meaning they see or hear things that aren't actually there. In addition, she may experience delusions, which are false beliefs about the world or someone's life. No matter how many times they are told these beliefs are inaccurate or not based on anything, it won't matter.
The human body goes through a lot of changes after giving birth. However, there comes a point where brain fog and disorientation could be indicators of something greater happening to her. A woman may become easily confused about who certain people are in her life, such as forgetting their names. Alternatively, they may not be able to remember what day it is frequently.
Furthermore, someone suffering from postpartum psychosis may find it hard to concentrate on even the smallest of tasks. None of those things, on their own, are necessarily a clear indicator of postpartum psychosis. However, when accompanied by any of the signs above, it can definitely be a red flag.
What To Do If You Suspect Postpartum Psychosis Is Present
If you recognize any of the signs in yourself or someone you love, don't panic. The name and symptoms of it sound scary, but it does not mean that someone is permanently broken or crazy. Typically, postpartum psychosis can last anywhere from six to twelve months, if not longer. Recovery from it is absolutely possible and is something many fully recover from.
However, postpartum psychosis is something that a woman or her family should never try to deal with on their own. If you believe that postpartum psychosis is a concern, then we encourage you or them to reach out to either your primary physician or mental health sooner rather than later. Reach out to us to learn more about maternal mental health and how it can help you adjust to this new chapter.