The “Baby Blues” are relatively normal feelings that most new moms experience after childbirth. Most of the time, while unsettling, these feelings are caused by hormonal fluctuations after delivery. These feelings usually subside within days or several weeks of giving birth:
- Mood swings
- Decreased concentration
- Trouble sleeping
In 10 to 15 percent of new mothers, the above feelings/emotions/actions don’t subside. They interfere with a mother’s ability to care for her newborn baby and herself and develop into a condition known as postpartum depression.
Here are the warning signs you should look for if you think you or someone you love may be experiencing postpartum depression or anxiety.
- Loss of appetite
- Intense irritability and anger
- Overwhelming fatigue
- Loss of interest in sex
- Lack of joy in life
- Feelings of shame, guilt or inadequacy
- Severe mood swings
- Difficulty bonding with the baby
- Withdrawal from family and friends
- Thoughts of harming yourself or the baby
An even rarer condition is that of Postpartum Psychosis, whose warning signs include:
- Confusion and disorientation
- Hallucinations and delusions
- Attempts to harm yourself or the baby
The above information was taken from the Mayo Clinic Website. There is a WEALTH of information on that website to help you identify risk factors, causes, and prevention methods. Please check it out!
Once you have acknowledged the fact that you may be suffering from PPD or PPA (or both!), it’s time to get help. There IS help for you!
First, talk to your spouse or partner. If you are going through parenthood alone, call a parent or close friend. Sometimes saying the words “I think I have PPD” are the most freeing thing you will ever do as someone suffering.
Next, call your OB. They are trained to screen patients for PPD. Your OB is the first medical step you should take (although some pediatricians have no doubt seen and diagnosed PPD).
Your OB will assess your situation and recommend counseling, medication, or both.
Neither of those is bad. In fact, I wish I’d gone to therapy. I think talking to a neutral party would’ve helped me immensely.
You may also ask your doctor if they know if there are any groups meeting through your local hospital. Often, these are free or very inexpensive and can be a great way to meet other moms in your area who may be suffering just like you.
Don’t be afraid of having a bad day. They will happen. But you will start to have better days. And eventually, the better days will outnumber the bad ones.
Finally, GOOGLE IS YOUR FRIEND. There are a TON of postpartum depression and anxiety resources online for moms who need help.
Here are just a FEW resources that are out there:
- Postpartum Progress
- Postpartum Support International
- Social Media
- That seems ridiculous, right? The sometimes-cesspool of social media could save someone’s life? It’s not. Trust me. I had no idea there were so many women willing to help others dealing with PPD/PPA when I stumbled onto Twitter in 2010 and found the #PPDChat, but instantly I was surrounded by a community of women who had experienced or were experiencing postpartum depression and anxiety.
- Nearly every platform, from Twitter to TikTok, will have a community of survivors and thrivers ready to welcome you, help you, lift you when you’re down, and provide peer support.
- There are dozens and dozens and dozens of blogs out there that are the stories of women currently dealing with or who have dealt with PPD/PPA. Reading their stories will let you know that you are not alone. I repeat, YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
I’ve had several amazing women (and my husband!) share their stories about PPD/PPA with my readers throughout the years. Instead of having their stories buried in the depths of the blog-o-verse, I thought I’d link to their stories here.
As always, if you ever feel like you need someone to talk to, I’m only an email away. We’re all in this together.