Everything You Need to Know About Postpartum Depression
I don’t care what people say, there is no way to predict if you are going to have postpartum depression. I was pretty certain that it was not going to happen to me, but it did! (You can read my story here). 10% to 20% of new moms will experience postpartum depression. It can last up to a year after giving birth and they have found that it can last even longer if not treated. So, it’s important to know the signs of postpartum depression. Especially before having a baby and if it’s your first baby. It makes life so much easier knowing what to look for so you can seek the proper help right away. Otherwise you feel stuck in an endless circle of hopelessness and guilt.
Here are the signs of Postpartum Depression:
- You stop looking forward to things that used to make you happy. The thought of going out to your favorite place to eat sounds daunting and overwhelming. You feel like you don’t look forward to anything, and nothing sounds fun.
- You have a loss of appetite, or you eat too much. You can’t bring yourself to eat because nothing sounds good. Eating food feels more like a chore. Or you turn to food every time you feel sad, so you are eating way too much all day.
- You struggle to bond with your baby or feel love toward your baby. You don’t want to be around your baby. When he/she is sleeping or away, you feel relieved. You feel like you don’t love your baby, or think about leaving.
- You struggle to fall asleep or you sleep too much. You are constantly planning out the next time you can go to bed, can’t get yourself out of bed in the morning, and nap every chance you get. You have no energy and constantly feel tired. And/Or can’t fall asleep at night because you’re up crying or can’t shut your brain off.
- You feel sad or unhappy. Sadness is a constant in your life. It looms over you and feels like a weight on your shoulders.
- You cry all the time. You cry, but don’t know why you’re crying. Everything and anything seems to make you cry, especially when your baby cries.
- You think of harming yourself or your baby. You are easily frustrated, especially when your baby cries. You have thoughts of hurting your baby or hurting yourself. It feels like it would be easier to not live, or if your baby wasn’t around anymore.
- You feel hopeless or see no joy in the future. Nothing brings you hope. You can’t picture a life where you’re happy again. Thinking of your past self and what life used to be like, consumes your day. You are living in the past, and can’t make goals for the future.
- You feel apathetic toward people or things. You feel empty, emotionless, and numb inside. Feeling love takes effort, and you stop caring. Everyday you feel blah, like you’re not really living.
- You have no desire to shower, get dressed, or leave the house. You want to lay around all day, and have no energy to do anything or go anywhere. Doing the simplest task seems overwhelming.
- You often feel guilty or worthless. You feel like a bad mom, or feel guilty for feeling like you don’t love your child. How could anyone possible love me, especially my baby? How am I contributing to society? I have nothing to offer.
- You excessively worry. You worry about pointless things that never made you worry before. Do I have to live like this forever? Am I going to hurt my child? Will this ever end? Will I ever feel happy again?
- You feel like something is wrong, and that you are not right. You feel “off” and not like yourself. Listen to that feeling, it is usually not wrong.
If you feel most of these things, chances are you have postpartum depression. 3 rules you must follow once you figure this out:
1. You are not alone.
2. Do not feel ashamed or guilty. It is not your fault. You could not have prevented it.
3. Seek Help! There is something you can do! Talk to your doctor. If you have a doctor tell you that you are fine, seek another doctor. Don’t stop looking until you get the help you need. See a therapist. Talk to a psychiatrist about starting medication. Don’t feel damaged or ashamed for getting help, and don’t feel like it’s your fault. There are ways to live with and overcome depression. You CAN and you WILL see light at the end of the tunnel.
Here are some great resources to getting started:
http://www.postpartumprogress.com/ This is a great website dedicated to helping other moms with postpartum depression. You can find a lot of information, tips and advice on this website.
www.mops.org This is a great organization called Mothers of Preschoolers. But don’t think it’s just for moms who have preschool aged children. It’s for all moms, and it’s a great way to meet new moms and know that you aren’t alone. They usually meet twice a month, they’ll watch your older kids and plan activities for the moms. It’s a great program. They are all over the country to go to the website and find one in your area.
www.postpartum.net Another great website devoted to postpartum depression.
www.scarymommy.com This is a great mommy blog. They have a section about postpartum depression. They also have a lot of stories of other mom’s who have struggled with postpartum and mental health in general. It’s a great support knowing you’re not alone in this.
More Get Help Resources Here
I have struggled with all these things. Here is my battle with depression.