Postpartum Depression

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    What I Wish I Had Known About Postpartum Depression

    Part 1 of 2 I was 22 years old while wearing a pregnancy glow and preparing for my magical natural birth. A doula created my belly cast to save the shape forever. I wrote a letter to my unborn child. I prepared her room with Care Bear decorations because my favorite lullaby came from that cartoon. I traveled to another city for appointments because that was the location of the nearest midwife. I practiced breathing and had a birth plan. I did lots of prenatal yoga. During the birthing process, incense filled the room as my family thought I was sleeping through contractions. There were lots of lovely moments. However, during labor, I found myself screaming “GET OUT!!!” to both my daughter and my mother-in-law. One of the nurses was holding the door to my room shut as my mother-in-law was pushing back with a video camera; I didn’t want to be filmed.

    That primal scream continued internally as I went home with my newborn baby. And when I say home, I mean my mother-in-law’s home. Without being made aware of the plan, my daughter’s grandmother invited over tons of people that I had never met. They all wanted to hold my baby. I just wanted to rest quietly between breast feeding. I was totally overwhelmed and condemned for not being sociable and for being overwhelmed. The situation was out of my control. My mother told me that my hormones were out of whack because of the pregnancy. That was her response to our disagreements; that I wasn’t thinking clearly because my hormones were “off”.

    My situation was stressful. I didn’t have stability in my relationship or finances. This definitely added to my #PostpartumDepression . There are a lot of new mothers that are similarly in difficult situations but even with the perfect home life, postpartum depression happens. Fatigue is definitely a contributing factor. It’s funny that moms expect themselves to be fully functional while waking up every 2 to 3 hours during the night. We don’t expect ourselves to function like that on a day to day basis; why do we pressure ourselves after creating and birthing a whole human being? Also, my mom was right in that my hormones were “off”; levels of estrogen and progesterone drop significantly after birth. This is a true part of pregnancy but it is an invalidating statement that dismisses the real need for support and treatment. Postpartum depression is common and treatable.

    Postpartum Depression by the Numbers

    1 in 10 women (after giving birth)
    Approximately 600,000 U.S. women per year
    Lasts 6 to 12 months
    50% of women affected are not diagnosed by a professional

    Symptoms of postpartum depression include depressed mood, mood swings, excessive crying, difficulty bonding with your baby, withdrawing from family and friends, loss of appetite or eating more than usual, inability to sleep (insomnia) or sleeping too much, overwhelming fatigue or loss of energy, reduced interest and pleasure in activities you used to enjoy, intense irritability and anger, fear that you’re not a good mother, hopelessness, feelings of worthlessness, shame, guilt or inadequacy, diminished ability to think clearly, concentrate or make decisions, restlessness, severe anxiety and panic attacks, thoughts of harming yourself or your baby, and /or recurrent thoughts of death or suicide.

    There is also an experience with collective symptoms called “the baby blues”. It is different than postpartum depression.

    The baby blues doesn’t last as long and is not as intense as postpartum depression. The baby blues affects 50 to 75% of mothers after delivery. The baby blues usually subsides after 2 weeks without treatment. Symptoms include: mood swings, anxiety, sadness, irritability, feeling overwhelmed, crying, reduced concentration, appetite problems, and trouble sleeping.

    What to do if you think someone may be struggling with postpartum depression: I moved in with my mom and stepdad about a month or so after my daughter’s birth. I remember one day being so fatigued that I didn’t want to go on a trip to visit my stepdad’s family. I didn’t want to get out of bed before 10am. He was very offended that I “didn’t want to see his family”. That response just packed in the stress, guilt, shame, and depression. An alternative response could have been of concern: to ask why do you think you are so tired? Was it waking up throughout the night? Or something more? Encourage the mother to share her experience with her doctor. Help the mother with tasks. Support her to rest and have space as she needs while not isolating. Any negative reinforcement may feel magnified through the lens of the depressed mother. Try to give as much positive reinforcement as possible. Share more positive feedback than negative.

    What to do if

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    What I Wish I Had Known About Postpartum Depression

    Part 2 of 2 you think you may be struggling with postpartum depression: Do a reality check by assessing your situation, body changes, and sleep pattern. The reality is that you are going through a difficult time and deserve grace and self-care. This self-care could include: napping with baby, not over expecting of yourself, not allowing others to devalue you, telling your pediatrician or gynecologist and considering/taking their advice, knowing that you are not a bad person for the struggle, and know that you are not a lesser mother for the struggle.

    Let’s normalize the conversation and help our mothers get through this tough time.

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    When you can't get help.

    How do I tell my story when I have been trying to hide it for so many years? How do I tell my story when it doesn’t have a happy ending, or really any ending? I hope that being honest helps someone else feel less alone, so here you go….

    You see, I have lived with depression since I was about 10 years old (I am now in my 40’s). When I was kid, I was told I was just shy and needed to make friends. Then in junior high, when I admitted I was suicidal I was told by both the school and my mom that I was no longer allowed to talk to the school counselor. Not only that but I was told by my mom to stop being so stupid and doing this to her because it made her look bad.

    I learned to hide my tears and my pain. To not talk about my feelings or when I felt suicidal. I didn’t want people to worry, to think I was crazy. More importantly I didn’t feel like I could ask for help (that only got worse).

    After my youngest was born I made sure that I lied on enough of the postpartum depression questions because I was scared that if I was honest, I would lose my kids.

    My youngest went through a traumatic experience that brought DCF into our lives for a while. The state appointed therapist would repeatedly say things about how he didn’t want to find me in xyz position dead at his next visit. Not only did he not offer to help me, but he told me I was a terrible mother and messed up my child. Because of him my 5-year-old spent a week in a child psych hospital where he was drugged without my knowledge or consent. I was not allowed to see him for 3 days and never had a chance to talk to his Dr. at the hospital. Instead, I was told he was just being a brat.

    I finally had the courage to tell my Dr. about my struggles with depression and admitted that I have made multiple attempts. Rather than receiving help I was told to wait…”it will be interesting to see where your mood is at in 6 months to a year.” I wasn’t given a referral to a therapist; I wasn’t given anything. When I called the office to complain I was told that it would have been unethical for him to do anything since I was a new patient but “my daughter suffers from depression, so I understand how hard it is”.

    I still have not found any help and honestly, I am getting tired of trying. I am still worried about being completely honest with my struggles especially since I feel like no one really cares. I do truly hope that this brings awareness to the struggles of accessing help for mental health. If you have been denied the help that you need and deserve, please know that it is NOT because you are not enough. Keep fighting and hopefully someone will listen.

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    Nowhere left to turn, nothing left to lose

    I'm posting here as I have nowhere else and nothing else left. I have completely given up on life and do not care anymore. I have bipolar 1 disorder and have been hospitalized 4 times for it. I just saw my Dr. last week, and my lithium levels are normal. I attempted suicide for the 12th time on Wednesday, and cut myself multiple times. I am bleak, numb, and see no point of going on. My parents could care less - in fact, I'm thinking of just driving off a bridge so they don't "have to waste anymore money." My almost 10-year relationship ended in February, and he believed be to me completely insane and a bother. I have one friend who lives 3 hours away who is suffering with postpartum depression herself and one down in Florida. I have no one. My co-workers are all drastically younger than me (I'm 34, they're 19/20). There's no love out there for me, my life is a wreck, nobody cares. Life has lost all hope and meaning. I'm alone with nothing but my thoughts, and that's when things get their worst.

    Does anyone have any last thoughts or ideas? My outlook is bleak, but I'm willing to try. I'd say I'm hypomanic - depressed, but also full of rage. I work out 7 days a week, so that option has been tried. Thank you for any help you can give.

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    A New Reality in Mom Stress

    The postpartum period after delivering a baby is a little over a year, yet we are told often we are supposed to ‘bouncing back’ to normal after 3 months.

    The old ways of viewing postpartum causes stress to new moms, with 15% - 20% experiencing debilitating symptoms.

    Postpartum stress syndrome is a step below postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety in terms of severity.

    “While postpartum stress syndrome can create feelings of anxiety that are unsettling, these feelings do not impede her ability to function or get through the day,”

    Yet, the rise of postpartum stress and depression is on the rise, especially since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020.

    What is going on, and what can we do about it ?

    First, we were doing too much before the pandemic, at least many were. Mothers and caregivers especially felt the stress post COVID 19 with working jobs and then managing childcare or school in the home.

    Second, we are adding to the increasing challenges by maintaining the old ways of life and trying to ‘return to normal.” Except, our world isn’t like it was. Women are expected to work as though they don’t have kids, raise children as if they don’t work, and live in a way that resembles a child-free life.

    Instead I ask you to honor where you are in your life, especially if you have younger kids under the age of 5. Cut yourself a lot of slack and know this reality isn’t forever.

    If you want to “challenge” yourself, ask yourself how you can enjoy moments to yourself, manage your stress, and be present with what is. There are many techniques to help you in 10 minutes or less.

    The more we all push back as moms and caretakers, the sooner we can all move towards a new way of being; one where we feel more balanced and not torn in multiple directions.

    #postpartum #PostpartumAnxiety #newmom #AutoimmuneDisease #LymeDisease #Stress #Anxiety #PostpartumDepression #mom #MomGuilt #AdrenalFatigue #AddisonsDisease #Pregnancy

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    Hi I am new here

    I gave birth 1year ago and am still going through postpartum depression 😔

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    I'm new here!

    Hi, my name is themediaartist. I'm here because

    #ADHD #ArtTherapy #PostpartumDepression

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    I’m new here!

    Hi, my name is Lucy. I'm here because my anxiety and depression are making it so hard to parent my 2 year old. To top it off, I’m extremely introverted so reaching out for help/support isn’t really my strength

    #MightyTogether #Anxiety #Depression #PostpartumDepression