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Becoming a parent is a major change that affects every aspect of you and your familyís life. Itís normal to feel overwhelmed, uncertain and sensitive as you adjust and learn.

There is a wide range of symptoms for postpartum depression. These can start during pregnancy or anytime in the first year with a baby. Left unaddressed, postpartum disorders can last for several months, even years. Both men and women experience postpartum depression. Certainly, when one parent is suffering, the rest of the family suffers.

Whenever you feel it is difficult to cope with daily tasks and decisions, ask for some help.

Consider the following symptoms as guidelines. If you experience these every day or several times a day, reach out. There are people who can help you regain your strength and calm in order to enjoy being a family.

Many of these are normal for the first few weeks but pay attention if they persist:

  • Sadness
  • Weepiness - Do you cry often, several times a day, and donít feel better afterward?
  • Isolated
  • Loneliness - Is this relieved by talking with other people, or do you still feel alone in yourself?
  • Guilty
  • Shame
  • Anger- Do you often feel defensive or finding an argument in most situations?
  • Resentfulness - Are you resentful of your baby, your partner, your family, your friends, or even yourself?
  • Exhaustion - Even with regular naps and good nutrition, are you still tired?
  • Anxiety/Tension
The following are serious symptoms. You should get help as soon as possible:
  • Shame - Too many things seem to be Ďyour faultí. You blame yourself a lot.
  • Not feeling yourself
  • Feeling overwhelmed - For example, does finding a new toothbrush or deciding what to eat for lunch feel difficult?
  • Neglecting to take care of your own basic appearance/needs.
  • Feeling drained - The small daily routines are more than enough, sometimes too much.
  • Loneliness
  • Helplessness/Hopelessness - The feeling that nobody can help you, nobody cares and/or there is no way out.
  • Excessive crying - Every day, easily provoked, you donít feel better afterward.
  • Mood swings
  • Feeling full of doubt
  • Appetite changes - A loss of appetite or a need to keep eating more than necessary should be noted.
  • Physical symptoms - For example, heart beating fast, general achiness, headaches: Discuss physical symptoms with your midwife or doctor.
  • Worthlessness
  • Feeling Distracted
  • Confusion
  • Panic attacks
  • Inability to laugh
The following requires immediate attention. Call someone right away, get someone to stay with you until you get more professional help:
  • Loss of control
  • Thoughts of hurting yourself
  • Thoughts of hurting your baby
  • Scary fantasies
  • Visual or auditory hallucinations

It is the goal of this Task Force to bring together the practitioners, organizations, research, and best practices that North Shore families need for a healthy postpartum experience. The initial scope of this Task Force is the North Shore United Way community, including the following towns: Beverly, Manchester, Hamilton, Wenham, Ipswich, Essex, Gloucester, and Rockport.