Postpartum Depression affects 10-15% of mothers after having a new baby. About 80% of mothers get the “baby blues.” Something that I think everyone needs to understand: these are the percentages reported. I know that at my postpartum visits with my doctors, I did not admit or talk to my doctors about the baby blues or depression. Maybe I was in denial. Maybe I just didn’t want to talk about it. Honestly, I have no clue.
After giving birth to Baileigh, I was coping great. I had energy. I wasn’t in pain. I was feeling pretty awesome. Then reality set in and I was taking care of a newborn, an 18 month old toddler, a new house, my husband, and myself. I was overwhelmed. I had postpartum depression and I did not tell anyone. I’m sure friends and family caught onto it. I know my husband did especially after he would find me in the shower just balling my eyes out for no good reason. I was questioning myself as a mother, as a wife, as a person in general. It was bad. Sadly, this happens to more women than one would think. After having a baby, we’re supposed to be happy. But in reality, our hormones are going out of control and we have no control over our emotions.
I remember the days of just sitting on my couch and the day would just slip away. Before I knew it, my husband would be pulling into the driveway and I had not done a single load of laundry, picked up a toy, cleaned a dish, nothing. I had taken care of the babies and that was it. I had no motivation to do anything else. My housework was slacking. My husband was making dinner every night and my marriage wasn’t doing so great. I was falling apart and I didn’t want to talk about it.
Symptoms of PPD include (but are not limited to):
- Irritability or hypersensitivity
- Difficulty Concentrating
- Anxiety and worry
- Crying or tearfulness
- Negative feelings such as sadness, hopelessness, helplessness, or guilt
- Loss of interest in activities you usually enjoy
- Difficulty sleeping (especially returning to sleep)
- Fatigue or exhaustion
- Changes in appetite or eating habits
- Headaches, stomachaches, muscle or backaches
If you have PPD, talk to someone. Talk to your mother, your sister, your significant other, your friend. Talk to your doctor. Take preventative measures like placenta encapsulation (gross sounding, i know, but it supposedly works!). Relax and realize that it is normal to feel overwhelmed but its not normal to keep it all inside.
I had PPD for at least 4 months before I actually started to become myself again. I suffered. My family suffered. As soon as I started talking to my husband more about how I felt, I started to feel better. We communicated and it not only helped our marriage, but it helped him understand that I was having a harder time than he thought. He helped more around the house when I told him I needed it. I have been back to “normal” for about a year now and I have looked into things that I will do differently if we decide to have more children in the future that may help my chances for PPD to decrease. I may be that “crunchy” mama that tries Placenta Encapsulation and see if it really works! All I know is that I don’t want other mamas to feel as horrible as I did and that I will not make myself or my family suffer that badly again.
So tell me: did you suffer from PPD? And how did you handle it?