What is Postpartum Depression and what can you do about it?
Let’s start by defining how does postpartum depression happens. Allow me to paint a picture.
You have geared up to welcome your new baby into the world, the nursery is ready and, more importantly, you are ready. You survive through labour and delivery, get home and start on your new role of parent. The first few days are great, you are getting to know your baby, you are surviving the sleepless nights, but you are so happy to have your baby in your arms.
Gradually your emotions begin changing. Things don’t seem as good as they should. The connection with your baby feels lost, concern that something bad is going to happen to you or the baby becomes apparent. People around start noticing that you are more irritable and you feel like crying for what seems like no real good reason. Interest in eating, or going out, has decreased considerably, maybe you don’t even want to get out of bed anymore.
Sounds familiar? You are not alone. About 3 to 20 percent of women suffer postpartum depression. A staggering 50 to 80 percent of women will experience “baby blues” which is a mild form of postpartum depression and if left unattended may turn into a more lasting situation.*
I know how you are feeling. I have been there myself. As a mother of two children ages 2 and 8 months I went through postpartum depression after my first son’s birth. No one prepared me for the emotions I would feel, nor did anyone talk to me about postpartum depression and how it can really impact you. Found myself crying daily and couldn’t explain why, and felt so guilty because I really was happy to have a son, but just couldn’t feel it or show it ‘the right way’. I remember driving home from the hospital and crying the whole way and at that moment I knew something was wrong. I was fortunate to have a good relationship with a colleague who was able to refer me to a psychiatrist. This was the best thing ever. My therapist understood my situation and didn’t judge me. She was able to remain neutral and not make me feel worse than I was already feeling.
Postpartum depression is more common than people think and should be something that is talked about, however, many people in the medical field are simply oblivious to its effects.
Think you may have Postpartum Depression? What can you do?
There are things you can do to help yourself feel better:
Get as much rest as you can, yep I know this is hard with a baby, however you must get your rest if you are to feel any better.
Don’t go through it alone. Join a local mommy group and get the support of other moms. One of the best things I did was join a mom group and pushed myself to go out and meet up with other moms.
It is ok to ask for help. Going to therapy is very helpful. Don’t let any fear of stigma stop you, with proper treatment postpartum depression can be a thing of the past.
These recommendations help in most cases of the “baby blues”, postpartum depression’s little sister, but may not be enough for more severe symptoms. This is why it is important that you talk to someone about it, as if attended early on, its effects may be mitigated or completely eliminated, allowing you to live your life to the fullest again and enjoy your baby’s first year as much as you deserve.
If you ever want to talk to someone or would like more details please feel free to contact Erica.
*Canadian Mental Health Association – Postpartum Depression.http://www.cmha.ca/mental_health/postpartum-depression