Okay, this is a sensitive subject for some, but it must be addressed. Becoming a mommy is hard work, the hardest job on the planet that NEVER goes away, and eventhogh there are classes you can take to learn how to take care of your child, play, teach, feed…However, there isn’t many classes that prepare mommy for depression, because it happens and it can take you for a loop and if you don’t catch it early on you may suffer severe consequences.
I’m sure a few questions are coming to your mind like What does it feel like to have postpartum depression? What are the signs or symptoms? How do you know when you have it? And if you do have it, what should you do?
Postpartum Depression Signs
You may have postpartum depression if you have had a baby within the last 12 months and are experiencing some of these symptoms:
- You feel overwhelmed. Not like “hey, this new mom thing is hard.” More like “I can’t do this and I’m never going to be able to do this.” You feel like you just can’t handle being a mother. In fact, you may be wondering whether you should have become a mother in the first place.
- You feel guilty because you believe you should be handling new motherhood better than this. You feel like your baby deserves better. You worry whether your baby can tell that you feel so bad, or that you are crying so much, or that you don’t feel the happiness or connection that you thought you would. You may wonder whether your baby would be better off without you.
- You don’t feel bonded to your baby. You’re not having that mythical mommy bliss that you see on TV or read about in magazines. Not everyone with postpartum depression feels this way, but many do.
- You can’t understand why this is happening. You are very confused and scared.
- You feel irritated or angry. You have no patience. Everything annoys you. You feel resentment toward your baby, or your partner, or your friends who don’t have babies. You feel out-of-control rage.
- You feel nothing. Emptiness and numbness. You are just going through the motions.
- You feel sadness to the depths of your soul. You can’t stop crying, even when there’s no real reason to be crying.
- You feel hopeless, like this situation will never ever get better. You feel weak and defective, like a failure.
- You can’t bring yourself to eat, or perhaps the only thing that makes you feel better is eating.
- You can’t sleep when the baby sleeps, nor can you sleep at any other time. Or maybe you can fall asleep, but you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t go back to sleep no matter how tired you are. Or maybe all you can do is sleep and you can’t seem to stay awake to get the most basic things done. Whichever it is, your sleeping is completely screwed up and it’s not just because you have a newborn.
- You can’t concentrate. You can’t focus. You can’t think of the words you want to say. You can’t remember what you were supposed to do. You can’t make a decision. You feel like you’re in a fog.
- You feel disconnected. You feel strangely apart from everyone for some reason, like there’s an invisible wall between you and the rest of the world.
- Maybe you’re doing everything right. You are exercising. You are taking your vitamins. You have a healthy spirituality. You do yoga. You’re thinking “Why can’t I just get over this?” You feel like you should be able to snap out of it, but you can’t.
- You might be having thoughts of running away and leaving your family behind. Or you’ve thought of driving off the road, or taking too many pills, or finding some other way to end this misery.
- You know something is wrong. You may not know you have a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder, but you know the way you are feeling is NOT right. You think you’ve “gone crazy.”
- You are afraid that this is your new reality and that you’ve lost the “old you” forever.
- You are afraid that if you reach out for help people will judge you. Or that your baby will be taken away.
Yes, this list may seem long, but READ IT CAREFULLY and honestly ask yourself if you or any new mom you know feel or have felt this way within 12 months of having their baby. Early diagnosis is key.
I found a non-profit organization called “Postpartum Progress” that specializes in helping mothers overcome this depression…Below is a list of treatment centers and support groups that can help with postpartum depression.
I know what you’re thinking, if I’m depressed, why would I want to participate? Trust me, it is worth it for your child’s sake. You also can speak and meet other moms who are facing the same battle, may even become friends and join a mommy and baby group in the future. You never know how you might change your mindset if you just get out and try to overcome this depression as soon as you see it coming…
Postpartum Progress is a nonprofit created by moms for moms with maternal mental illness. Here are there tips below:
- List of postpartum depression treatment specialists and programs.
- List of postpartum depression support groups.
- Our description of the six stages of postpartum depression, or what it feels like as you progress through this illness.
- A list of some of our top postpartum depression stories, organized in categories so you can find and read stories about moms just like you.
- What recovery from PPD does NOT look like, so you know what to focus on and what not to focus on as you get better.