RICHMOND, Va. -- Marie Casey is about to give birth to her second baby boy. while she loves being a mother, The first few months that followed the birth of her first son were extremely difficult as Casey battled postpartum depression.
"There were times I thought about hurting myself, the baby,” Casey said. “I shut my friends and family out. It’s not like I wanted to think these things or do these things, it just happened. I couldn`t help it.”
Now Casey is working closely with her doctor to prevent the feelings of helplessness and depression that impacted her after the birth of her first child.
Dr. Marlena Halstead says postpartum depression affects about 10 percent of new mothers.
"Postpartum depression can affect a mom’s personal health, it can affect the baby’s health and the baby’s coping abilities and it can also affect someone's family,” Halstead said.
While postpartum depression can often be confused with the normal baby blues, including feelings of fatigue, irritability and weepiness, the symptoms of postpartum depression are more intense and last longer.
“Postpartum depression occurs when those feelings persist and can develop into a deeper depression where a mom isn’t bonding with her baby, withdraws from her baby, or her family and social situations,” Halstead said.
But Dr. Halstead says women shouldn’t have to live with depression or feelings of anxiety. She says there’s help for new mothers, including: medication, counseling and support groups.
“A lot of women come to me and say, ‘I don’t want medication, I don’t want medicine,'" Halstead explained. "And I say, ‘Fine, but we do need to find a way to help you out of this situation, and help you receive appropriate treatment during pregnancy, and after as well.’”
Casey says she wants to help other new moms and knows that help begins with awareness.
“I want women to think that it’s not, they’re not crazy,” Casey said. “Postpartum depression shouldn't make you look crazy. It’s a normal thing and it can happen to anybody.”
Working For Your Health is a partnership with HCA Healthcare. Serving the greater Richmond area, Chippenham, Henrico Doctors’, Johnston-Willis, Parham Doctors’, and Retreat Doctors’ Hospital are part of HCA Virginia. Watch for Working For Your Health reports Tuesdays on CBS 6 News at 7 p.m.