If you are a mom, or soon-to-be mom, then you have to watch Netflix’s new show, “Workin’ Moms”. As a warning The show has a lot of dry humor, but most moms find at least one character or incident extremely relatable. The show follows a few moms who are all working and balancing their family life, raising a newborn, and returning to work after maternity leave. As a psychotherapist who helps a lot of moms in Hoboken, NJ, there is one character that intrigued me the most. In the show she recently had a baby and is experiencing postpartum depression. This may be one of the most realistic portrayals of postpartum depression that I have seen on a TV show.
I recommend the show to all moms, and soon-to-be moms, since it is always good to know the signs and symptoms of postpartum depression. Usually if a mom is experiencing postpartum depression, they don’t know it at the time. Even if you don’t experience it with your first child, you could still experience postpartum depression with a second or third child. Or you may see these symptoms in a new mom friend of yours who you care about. I will go into details about postpartum depression signs and symptoms here so that you can be more informed yourself. And check out the show if you haven’t already! (There will be spoilers at the very end of this article and marked so if you haven’t watch yet you can skip the end of this blog).
Anchor Therapy is a counseling center in Hoboken, NJ with psychotherapists specialized to help teens and adults with anxiety, depression, and life transitions.
Baby Blues vs. Postpartum Depression:
After you have a baby, you will experience a lot of heightened emotions. A lot of these emotions are positive, but since your hormones are so heightened and out of whack it is possible that you will feel some negative emotions as well. Baby blues are very common where you may feel sadness, mood swings, anxiety, and difficult sleeping the days after giving birth. This is normal for a mother to feel and can last up to a few weeks. Postpartum depression will last much longer than a few weeks and will feel much more severe. Postpartum depression is a version of clinical depression that will greatly impact your life in a negative way. If it goes untreated, it will also last for months on end. Postpartum depression is very common for moms who recently gave birth so it’s important to know the signs and symptoms. If you notice them then you can seek treatment for it right away. Postpartum depression is looked at as a complication that may come along after giving birth. Just like you may get an infection or physical problem after giving birth. This is a mental health condition that could follow and if it goes untreated it may cause major problems in your life.
Since a lot of moms get baby blues symptoms, they may become nervous that they are experiencing postpartum depression. So I want to show the difference between the the two.
Signs and Symptoms of Baby Blues:
Change in appetite
Lack of sleep
Feeling on edge
Increased stress levels
Lack of concentration
These symptoms will usually last a few days after giving birth and up to about 2 weeks. You are able to still take care of your daily tasks even while experiencing these symptoms as they are not severe. You just may need some extra help at this time from your partner, family, friends, and support from a therapist could help.
Signs and Symptoms of Postpartum Depression:
Crying that feels uncontrollable and at times random
Sad most of the time
Severe mood swings
Having a hard time bonding with your baby
Feeling you aren’t a good mother
Lack of interest or pleasure in activities you used to enjoy
Lack of energy or feeling tired all of the time
Withdrawing from others
Change in appetite
Lack of sleep or sleeping much more than usual
Feeling agitated or angry
Worthlessness or feeling you are not good enough
Feeling guilt or shame
Lack of concentration and easily forgetful
Feeling on edge or having a hard time sitting still
Feeling severe anxiety and/or experiencing panic attacks
Thoughts of harming yourself and/or your baby
Thoughts of death or suicide
You may not experience all of these symptoms, but if you do find yourself experiencing a handful of these symptoms and for months then you are probably depressed. You may actually start to experience these symptoms while pregnant before giving birth and it could last through the birth and for months after. It is most common to experience baby blues after birth and then these more severe symptoms develop and last for months after. Another possibility is that postpartum depression may start to develop and show farther out after giving birth such as a year later. A big indicator that you are experiencing postpartum depression is that it has a negative consequence on a big aspect of your life. Some examples are that you are not able to do your work at your job, you feel you cannot take care of your home or family like you usually would, or you distance yourself so much from others that you don’t feel like yourself anymore. This is why it’s important for all moms to know the signs and symptoms of postpartum depression so that they can notice it within themselves or others. The sooner you seek help then the sooner you can get treatment and feel better.
Treatment for postpartum depression:
I honestly think that all moms need support in some way. Even if you are just experiencing what you think is baby blues, I still recommend seeking support. You can find a moms groups in your community that you can connect with about anything and everything mom related. You can use your own family for support since they raised you and if you’re close to them then this is a great supportive option. You can talk to friends who are mothers as well. You also may find it helpful to find a professional therapist who specializes in seeing moms. It would be helpful to have that support system in place so that if you are feeling overwhelmed after giving birth then your therapist and/or support system will easily notice something is off and help you through. You can start to address the symptoms as they arise with your support system already in place.
If you do notice these postpartum depressive symptoms in yourself and you don’t have professional support then it is time to find some. You could ask your OB/GYN doctor, your child’s pediatrician, or your primary care doctor what they think about your symptoms and if you need a referral to a mental health counselor. The next step would be to seek out a professional therapist to get evaluated and figure out if you are experiencing postpartum depression. It is always a great idea to meet with a professional rather than just talking to friends/family/support groups about it since this would be someone who is trained in helping so that you get the treatment needed. The therapist would then recommend a course of therapy treatment and/or make a referral to a psychiatrist for a further evaluation and to discuss possible medication that is needed to help the depressive symptoms.
The earlier you detect postpartum depression symptoms, the sooner you can get the help that’s needed. Once you start treatment, you are already on track to feeling better and being able to better care for your family.
How Netflix’s "Workin’ Moms” Got Postpartum Depression Symptoms Spot On:
***WORKIN’ MOMS SHOW SPOILERS AHEAD***
On the Netflix show, “Workin’ Moms” the character Frankie Coyne played by actress Juno Rinaldi experiences postpartum depression. At first she’s not sure what’s going on with her but she knows something is off. The show has a lot of dry humor so they are able to show postpartum depression symptoms in a way that is realistic, funny, and informative. On the show, Frankie is a real estate agent and returns to work soon after giving birth. She has a hard time connecting with clients and doing her job which causes her to be forced into a leave of absence. At this point she obviously knows that something is truly wrong since she is usually great working and selling homes to clients. You see throughout the show that she experiences some depressive thoughts and behaviors in which she dunks her head in a pool and goes under water in the bathtub with her baby. There is even a point in time that she seeks help from another mom who is a psychiatrist. (This is actually a huge ethical problem since a psychiatrist/therapist cant’ see a friend for counseling.) With that aside, it is great to see Frankie seeking professional help. She even starts to get better and feels like herself again when she is on the right medication and going to counseling. She starts to do well at work, feel more connected to her partner, and connect with her baby. After some time passes though she starts to slip back into the depressive symptoms. This is such a realistic view of postpartum depression as there is no such thing as perfect progress in which you seek help, take a pill, and magically are 100% better every day moving forward. Real progress has a lot of up’s and down’s while moving towards the positive changes. Frankie’s progress and struggle is very realistic to what postpartum depression really looks like. At the end she seems to reach her “rock bottom” in which she almost loses her home, wife, and child. That is when Frankie decides to seek help from what seems like an inpatient treatment center. It is nice and refreshing to see such a realistic portrayal of postpartum depression so that moms can be more mindful and aware of what it really looks like.
If you find yourself, or someone you care about, experiencing postpartum depression symptoms then I urge you to seek help or help your loved one find help. Sometimes it can feel daunting to find a professional therapist who can help with postpartum depression. But once you do find that help, it will really make a huge difference in your life. You need to treat postpartum depression just as you would a severe clinical depression diagnosis. The sooner you get help the better.
Courtney Glashow, LCSW
is a licensed psychotherapist practicing in Hoboken, New Jersey. She specializes in helping teens and adults with anxiety, depression, and life transitions through counseling. Courtney can help NY or NJ residents through telehealth (video/phone) therapy sessions as well.