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Post-Partum Depression. It’s Not A Dirty Little Word.

by Lauren Millman
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We’ve been taught to not talk about our problems. Society either doesn’t want to hear it, help it, or they want to judge it, put you in a category of unwell or having a mental health issue. That all holds judgement, and may even pidgeon-hold you.” Hold it together, Get a grip, You’ll feel better tomorrow, It’s just the baby blues.”  For some, yes. You’ve just given birth to a watermelon and your hormones have exploded and some people expect you to walk back into the world as good as new, happy as pie, hormones in-tact. Well, not going to happen.

sad angry

For many women, including myself, the opposite happened. I was a wreck. You may be a wreck. However you’re feeling, you’re not sick, and you’re certainly not imagining how you’re feeling. It’s all real. You’re a hostage to it. Post Partum Depression, or PPD, is real. I had it, so believe me when I tell you, I so get it. They say awareness. I say acceptance. They say Mental Illness. I say Emotional Wellness. Hormones. They sure can wreak havoc on your life and throw things in loops, upside down, and cause an insurmountable amount of turmoil in your life and the life you share with your husband, partner, newborn, and your other kids, if you have.

We need to get talking about this. So many Moms are sitting at home wondering what’s wrong with themselves, afraid to share with their friends how their feeling and afraid to tell their husbands or partners what they’re feeling and how they feel like they’re going to loose it, all for fear of being judged. PPD needs more understanding and acceptance. Post Partum Depression is normal, and happens to more women than you think, but because of under-reporting, too many suffer, and far too many women are suffering in silence. Help is out there. I’m here. There are so many wonderful professionals like myself, who understand what it is, and are there to support and guide you. There is a way out, but you have to ask for help. It’s important to realize the signs of the “baby blues’, and know when they seem to be worsening or not going away. Remember too, that ignoring the signs can lead to worst manifestations (of PPD,) and can lead to a further or worsening of stress, anxiety and anxiety attack, or panic and panic disorder.

While the “Baby Blues” are more transient in nature and tend to dissipate over the first few weeks after baby is born, PPD may not, and can manifest quickly and last for weeks, months, or even years, not only affecting you and your chidden, but your marriage and other relationships as well. It may be time to ask for that help. I remember when I began noticing my blues not going away, and that I was no happier, and getting snappier. I felt unhappy all the time, (the opposite of who I am), I smiled less, and cried more. I felt unmotivated, disorganized, and often found myself angry, reactive, nervous, and very irritated at people. I had little enjoyment in being with my kids and found that being with them and entertaining them was a huge daunting, challenging, and difficult undertaking.

That, was my experience. Ask for help. A supportive Professional, like myself, will be able to teach you coping strategies and techniques, and help you improve communication and understanding between you, your spouse or partner, and your kids. You deserve to be happy and free, and you can, but you have to talk about it to help yourself. You don’t have to let it hold you hostage a day longer. Don’t be embarrassed or feel ashamed. It’s normal. It’s awful, but it’s normal. Here’s a checklist for you if you think you may have Post Partum Depresssion.

Some Symptoms of Post Partum Depression:

Depressed Mood or (severe) Mood Swings

Constant or Excessive Crying

Lessened Desire To Bond With Baby

Social Withdrawal From Friends and, or Family

Loss of Appetite Or Inability to Eat

Inability to sleep or Insomnia

Fatigue or Loss of Energy

Sadness

Anxiety

Irritability and, or Anger, sometimes Intense

Feeling Overwhelmed

Reduced Concentration

Fear of Not Being A Good Mother

Feelings of Worthlessness, Shame, Guilt, or Inadequacy

Anxiety or Panic Attacks

Thoughts of harming yourself or Baby

*List taken from Mayo Clinic

Knowing the symptoms and knowing yourself is most important. Go for walks, Smile, even when you can’t. Write down how you’re feeling. Do for others. Give to give. All these little things are the beginning of the end. Ask your friends and family for help. Accept help. You can re-pay them later. Say no if you need. Those who truly care about you won’t be offended, and most of all, know that you’re not alone, it’s temporary, you will be ok, there is help out there, and it can start today, with you. 

 

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