Postpartum depression is a situational depression that occurs after childbirth. It effects over 3 million women each year. This is a complicated disorder for new moms because the societal implication is that a new mom is supposed to be so happy and excited to have a new baby in their arms. The reality is that having a baby is an emotional event, hormones are out of balance, exhaustion is common, and this is a perfect combination for postpartum depression to occur. Some moms are afraid to tell others they are struggling fearing they will be judged negatively or even be seen as an unfit mother. This allows the depression to go untreated and can often lead to the addition of anxiety as a secondary diagnosis.
Symptoms of PPD are feeling sad or down more days than not over a course of a two week period of time. Others symptoms include exhaustion, severe fatigue, lethargy, uncontrollable crying, loss of interest in baby or mothering your new baby, withdrawing from friends and family, sleeplessness or sleeping too much, any other symptoms that are drastically different than prior to pregnancy.
What we want moms to know:
1. It’s ok to be sad or down after you give birth. Actually, most moms have days of feeling sad or overwhelmed. If however, these feelings don’t improve over the course of a two week period, you need to talk to your doctor. Feelings of sadness or feeling extremely overwhelmed can occur as late as one year after you give birth.
2. You are not alone. Many moms experience these feelings but are unwilling to share them with others.
3. Taking good care of yourself and getting the help you need with this depression is the shortest road to feeling better and being able to fully enjoy your role as mom.
4. It’s not always necessary to take medication to treat PPD. Sometimes working with a therapist can be treatment enough.
5. If medication is necessary, there are pharmacological treatments that are safe for breast feeding moms.
6. Counseling really helps! It helps to have a non-biased (and non-related) support person to encourage you and give you tools that help you work through the transition of adding a baby to your family.
7. PPD can also happen if you received your baby through adoption and not actual childbirth.
If you are a new mom or mom to a new baby, and you are struggling with symptoms of PPD, please give us a call and let us help you get to a better place.