I'm glad you asked this important question. Postpartum depression is a serious illness that can start around four weeks after the baby is born and can last up to a year. Here are some of the symptoms of postpartum depression:
Change in appetite
Feelings of worthlessness
Loss of energy
Inability to concentrate
Lack of concern for personal appearance
It's important to know and remember two points. First, postpartum depression is a disease, and you didn't do anything to cause it. Second, you are not alone. Some researchers say it happens to up to 25 percent of all women after having a baby.
Here's what you need to do. If you can't get rid of these feelings, call your doctor right away. Don't beat around the bush. Tell your doctor that you've been doing some research about this, and you think you have postpartum depression. If your doctor brushes you off (unfortunately some do this), then call a different doctor. Call your obstetrician, or your midwife, or another family doctor, but don't let anyone tell you you're fine when you know you're not. This is an illness, and it needs to be treated.
Don't be afraid to talk to a health care professional. For more information, including a list of Web resources, read "Beating Postpartum Depression" on our site.