Great Moms Can Have Post-Partum Depression
Our culture is full of beautiful, glossy photos or advertisements, depicting rosy, happy mothers and their beautiful, bouncing bundles of joy. Then there are all the parenting blogs filled with descriptions of mothers who tandem nurse their infant and toddler, while hiking the Appalachian trail, making their own organic baby food and managing to crochet covers for their already compiled baby books – all at the same time.
But that’s not reality.
Unfortunately, by hiding the reality that 1 in 7 women experiences post-partum depression or post-partum anxiety, we don’t give women a chance to feel safe admitting how they’re feeling after they give birth.
Having post-partum depression, feeling angry or sad all the time, getting irritated at your baby’s constant demands – it’s all normal. That’s why we want women to recognize 5 of the most common signs of post-partum depression, and to share them with their OB/GYN, physician, a licensed counselor or a post-partum support group. Reaching out is the first step to understanding that you can be the world’s greatest mom and still have post-partum depression – and help is on the way.
Having a Baby Wreaks Havoc on Your Hormones
Having a baby sends your body on a hormonal roller coaster. Add lack of sleep, the physical demands of infancy, the lack of time to take care of your own needs to that – and you can see why we think new moms are heroes.
Here are 5 of the most common symptoms of post-partum depression and post-partum anxiety. Do they sound familiar? Are you noticing these symptoms in your spouse, partner, daughter, sister or a good friend? Share this blog, spread the word and find a post-partum support group in your area. You can also call a postpartum support hotline at 1-800-944-4773 for more immediate support.
You feel sad, depressed, hopeless, anxious, out of control on a regular basis
Most new moms will feel one, two or all of these emotions from time to time. However, women with postpartum depression (PPD) feel them often – potentially even daily or all the time. These “negative” feelings make it difficult to operate on a daily basis and may compromise your ability to care for yourself, your baby or your other children.
You may find yourself crying all the time, screaming or experiencing bursts of anger that are not normal for you, feeling constantly anxious or fearful about your baby’s well-being, feeling hopeless and so on etc. Those are the most common symptoms of postpartum depression.
You don’t feel bonded to your baby
How many times have you heard the story, “the minute I held my baby, I felt a love like I’ve never felt before…”. Well, that story is all fine and dandy unless you’re one of the many, many women who secretly admit they didn’t bond with their baby right away.
And, when you have postpartum depression, it’s even more difficult to bond with the baby – which makes you feel even worse.
Instead, know that you’re not alone and that it’s only a matter of time before you’ll love your baby. For some women, it can take weeks or even months to form a strong, loving and undeniable bond with their newborn. In the meantime, pay attention to the other feelings you’re having and if sadness, anger, frustration, anxiety and hopelessness are a norm – speak to someone about it.
You can’t sleep
While lack of sleep is the norm for all but a few, very lucky parents out there, most parents are still able to catch a few hours of shut eye here and there at night or during the day when the baby is sleeping. Women with PDD or postpartum anxiety, however, can find themselves completely exhausted but unable to sleep. Or, they might fall asleep for a short burst but then wake up and are unable to fall back to sleep – no matter how exhausted they are.
Not sleeping will only compound the issue so seek assistance from a trusted healthcare provider ASAP.
You find yourself planning to run away, escape or – in the worst moments – fantasizing about taking your own life
Yes – PPD is bleak. It will make you feel completely disconnected from the ones you love most, the world around you, friends, co-workers and the world at large. As if you’re hovering up above, you can even watch yourself have entire conversations with others or going through normal life motions, while wondering, “Holy cow….if they only knew how I really feel.”
PPD can make you feel like you are completely unworthy of motherhood, that you stink at being a mother, that you simply can’t hack this thing that every other woman seems to take on in stride….
That’s normal too. You are NOT alone. There are millions and millions of women in the world who know exactly how you feel…and some of them are sitting right next to you on the park bench, on the bus, in line at the grocery store – 1 in 7, remember…
You’re afraid that if you share the way you feel with anyone, they will think you’re a horrible mother and/or take your baby away
Almost every mother with PPD says they feared if they told the truth, people would think they were crazy, that they were terrible mothers, that they weren’t capable of taking care of their baby or that their baby will be taken away from them.
In fact, if you share these feelings with a healthcare professional or a postpartum help group, you’ll be reassured, taken care of, sympathized or even empathized with – and you can begin the path towards healing.
You’re More Prone to Experiencing PPD If or When…
You are more prone to experiencing postpartum depression if or when you:
- Experience a traumatic birth experience
- Have a history or family history of depression or anxiety
- Had PPD in the past
- You’ve experienced significant stress or trauma in the recent past such as a move, a death in the family or of a close friend, a change in employment, divorce, etc.
- Have a baby with special needs or who requires medical attention
- Are a first-time mother, a young mother or are an older mother
- Lack family, friends or a community that would typically provide support to you as a new mother
- Are experiencing employment and/or financial problems
Knowing you are more prone to PPD will make you more alert to the symptoms after your baby is born.
Do you live in the Kansas City area and suspect you have postpartum depression? Feel free to contact us here at Women’s Health Associates. We are a “for women, by women” healthcare provider and we are ready to give you the compassionate support you deserve.