Postpartum Depression, knowing when to get help
Postpartum Depression is, in my opinion, the worst form of depression. I say this from experience, as I have had this and also battle with Major Depression and Seasonal Depression (click the links below to see my hubs on those forms of depression). With this depression you get hit on all sides, emotional, behavioral, and physical. As if it wasn't enough to go through the whole 9 months of pregnancy worrying your head off, plus all the hours of labor and pushing a human being out of your own body, now you have this god-awful depression. Please read my other hub to learn about the milder form of Postpartum Blues and the more severe form of Postpartum Psychosis.
Having a baby is the most important thing I have ever done, and I have done it three times. When all my children were born, I cried the minute I saw them, tears of joy mind you because I had finally met these little beings who I cared for in my own body. That is a bond that is stronger than anything else in this world. I was so happy that I refused to let them take my babies from me, even to just give them a bath. I didn't care if they were covered in gross stuff, I didn't want to let go, I was instantly in love. After the hospital stay and coming home I was still on a high no drug could ever give me. I noticed after about the 5th day of being home, something was wrong with me and the way I was feeling. Postpartum Depression is very serious, it makes you think having a child was a mistake, like you are a horrible mother, and like its not worth it…sometimes, it makes you think worse things.
I want you all to know, that these feelings are completely normal, your child was not a mistake, you are going to be a great mother, and it’s definitely worth it, so hang in there.You have to know the signs and get help immediately, whether its you or someone you love, its very important you seek help for not only the mother but also for the sake of her newborn baby.
lack of sleep
reduction in libido
thoughts of suicide or death
How have you/will you seek help for PPD?
What will happen to me?
Also known as PPD, Postpartum Depression changes social, chemical and psychological behavior and its all conveniently rolled into one neat little package that can come after you have a baby.
During pregnancy, a woman’s estrogen and progesterone levels soar up to 10 times their normal level, after she gives birth, they harshly drop down to their normal levels again. The woman’s hormone levels could be back to what they were in as little as 3 days after giving birth. This creates a whirlwind in your body, and is most likely connected to the cause of PPD, although experts are not 100% sure.
Along with the lack of sleep you know you will have, you can expect extreme fatigue, appetite changes, mood swings, and a reduction in your libido. You can also experience signs of Major Depression which could include, feeling depressed, worthless, helpless, and/or hopeless, loss of satisfaction, and thoughts of death and/or suicide.
Why Is this happening to me?
If you have a history of depression you are more likely to get PPD and your doctor should be able to give you the best information on different support and medication options for after the baby is born, as well as during pregnancy. You may also be at risk for PPD if this is a subsequent pregnancy and have a history of PPD or if you’ve had PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder). Your age can also factor into why you have PPD, the younger you are the more likely you are to get PPD. Ambivalence about your pregnancy is also a factor, the less than thrilled you are to be pregnant, the more you are likely to develop PPD.
The last known factors are living alone, lack of social support and marital conflict. Make sure you have people around you that are supportive and willing to lend a hand in a pinch. If you feel like you have nowhere to turn when the going gets tough, this will surely result in PPD.
What can I do?
With the depression rate in the world rising, there are support groups for new moms and pregnant women alike all across the globe. Talk to your doctor and get the help you need, whether its counseling or medication or both, its nothing to be ashamed of. About every 1 in 10 women who have PPD will develop a more serious type of longer-lasting depression. About 1 in 1,000 will develop Postpartum Psychosis.
The best thing you can do for your baby is to keep yourself mentally, emotionally and physically healthy.