Recognizing and Surviving Postpartum Depression
After the initial excitement of announcing your pregnancy, you’ve gone through nine months of gaining weight, bodily changes, and other unexpected surprises. Finally, the baby comes and you get a rush of excitement. Your newly prepared home is now suddenly full, and your previously quiet day is now interrupted by a very demanding (and cute) baby. Unfortunately, postpartum depression, or PPD, can strike, and it is just as common for mothers after their second or third child. If you are a new parent and are unsure of the symptoms, or you are a seasoned mom and are beginning to worry you may be developing postpartum depression, doing your research and recognizing the symptoms is your first step to recovery.
Where Should I Find Information?
It is best if you do research before giving birth, so you can recognize and be prepared for the possibility of this happening to you. Websites like Mommy Authority provide tons of advice for new or experienced parents. They explore the best way to live a healthy life, provide parenting tips, and even give reviews of supplements and vitamins that can benefit you and your family. Reading more blog-type websites and other real-life experiences of other mothers can put you at ease and show you how you can succeed. Reading as much as you can from reputable sources is the best way for you to stay informed and be on top of your mental state.
It’s Just The Baby Blues
Sometimes, just to calm yourself down or to reassure you, you may hear that what you’re experiencing is the “baby blues.” This refers to the dip of estrogen and progesterone you go through after giving birth. Once you’ve given birth, your hormones are, quite frankly, out of whack and cause you to feel moody, overwhelmed and upset. However, this state should not last more than two weeks, and the symptoms are much less severe than PPD.
However, it very well could be baby blues. Around 80% of postpartum mothers are affected by the baby blues, but only 15% develop PPD.
The symptoms of the baby blues are:
- You feel like you are crying “all the time,” very emotional, sad, and vulnerable
- Your moods are unstable, ranging from depression and anxiety, to ecstatic highs
- You can’t seem to concentrate or focus. Your mind is in a fog.
- Your symptoms last up to two weeks.
Being in touch with your medical practitioner, friends and family about your range of emotions is the best support system you could ask for.
Watch Out For Severe Symptoms
Postpartum depression occurs after two to three months after giving birth, but it can start at any time after delivery. Your symptoms will be similar to the “baby blues,” but much more severe until they interfere with your everyday tasks. You will often feel overwhelmed and you may even lose interest in the things you used to like.
Postpartum depression symptoms include:
- Feeling detached or disconnected from your surroundings.
- Loss of interest in activities you formerly liked.
- Long periods of crying or sadness.
- Feeling guilty like you are not enough.
- Not feeling bonded to your baby.
- Advanced forms of PPD include thoughts of harming yourself or the baby.
PPD: It’s Not Permanent
Although you may feel stuck and upset in this hellish world, just know that PPD is not permanent and completely treatable. It is extremely common and once you are brave enough to share what you are going through, people will help you. The thing is, you need to be honest. PPD is so stereotyped, while on the other hand, there is also an enormous pressure of new motherhood of feeling happy and full of joy that sometimes you don’t feel comfortable sharing your real feelings. What if you’re just exaggerating and it’s taken too far? What will people say if you’re not full of bliss due to the new addition to the family? Thankfully, there are a ton of resources you can access to help you get through this very difficult time.
- Talk about it. Be vocal about your feelings, especially to your healthcare professional.
- Find a support group in your area. Sharing your experiences is a great way to overcome this illness.
- Do your research to predict and explain what you are going through.
- Take supplements like omega-3. It helps to relieve depression symptoms
- Antidepressants are also a good choice if your symptoms worsen.
You Can Be Helped
Once you are able to recognize the symptoms for PPD, you will able to get the right treatment. Hopefully your new bundle of joy will also bring you peace and happiness. Dips in mood and feelings of panic are normal with a new baby, but even if you do develop postpartum depression, just know there are ways to support and care for you.