07/29/06 –Postpartum depression is a universal issue caused by biochemical reactions and cultural traditions, according to Bill Hayes, a clinical social worker at Bassett Healthcare in Cooperstown.
Hayes said some of the early signs of postpartum depression that people should be aware of include crying for no apparent reason, impatience, irritability, restlessness and anxiety.
Postpartum depression can occur within days of giving birth or up to a year later. More serious signs of problems include sadness, hopelessness, loss of appetite, inability to sleep, poor concentration, confusion, too much concern for or too little interest in the baby, a sense of worthlessness, fear of harming the baby or yourself, and exaggerated highs and lows.
“Mothers can end up feeling crazy and guilty,” Hayes said.
Physical symptoms of depression can include rapid breathing and heart rate and obsessive compulsive behaviors.
“It often boils down to who is nurturing and taking care of the mother,” Hayes said.
Hayes said there are various support systems available for new mothers. He suggested that anyone with concerns may call the following institutions and organizations:
• Bassett Healthcare Birthing Center — 547-3456;
• Mothers and Babies Perinatal Network — (800) 231-0744;
• Fox Crisis Center — (877) 369-6699;
• Bill Hayes — 547-3500.
Hayes also recommended the following websites:
By Patricia Breakey –