Postpartum Disorders

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    How Long Does Postpartum Depression Last?

    The postpartum period is an incredibly sensitive time for not just the new baby but also the parent who gave birth. Although most will experience a short period of “baby blues” in the early weeks following childbirth, not everyone will emotionally recover as quickly. If you feel like your emotions and mood are getting out of hand, or you’re feeling “down” for more than six weeks postpartum, you may be experiencing postpartum depression. What Is Postpartum Depression? The hormone change that occurs after giving birth is the single largest hormonal shift that any human being experiences in their lifetime. So, it should be unsurprising that this shift can lead to a variety of strange feelings and symptoms. When hormones plummet during the postpartum period, many people experience a short phase during which they feel emotionally sensitive, referred to as the “baby blues.” However, some continue to feel bad for many weeks following childbirth and may be diagnosed with postpartum depression. Here are some signs and symptoms of postpartum depression: Mood swings and irritability Feelings of sadness or anxiety Feeling hopeless Lack of motivation Feeling detached from your baby Having a hard time coping Loss of interest in activities that you once enjoyed If you are experiencing any or all of these symptoms, then it is important that you seek help as soon as possible. See your doctor or therapist and let them know what you feel so they can offer support where it is needed. How to Tell If You Have Postpartum Depression During your follow-up visits with your OBGYN, you will likely fill out a “PPD Screening Questionaire.” This survey will offer a variety of questions to help determine if you may have postpartum depression. Make sure to be open and honest with your doctor during your postpartum visits so that they can help you with any mental health challenges you may be facing. Unfortunately, not everyone can tell if they have postpartum depression right away. Some don’t experience it until after seeing their doctor for their final postpartum follow-up. If you suspect that you may be developing postpartum depression, you’ll need to contact your doctor right away and set up an appointment. That way, they can accurately diagnose you and treat you as needed. How Long Does Postpartum Depression Last? The length of time that postpartum depression lasts will be slightly different for everyone. Some people start feeling better just a few days or weeks after diagnosis, while others may experience a longer recovery period. Doctors also treat postpartum depression differently depending on each patient’s unique situation. Postpartum depression is most severe around 2-12 weeks postpartum, but symptoms can occur as late as 12 months postpartum. How long your postpartum depression lasts also may depend on how soon you seek treatment. The sooner people seek help with their postpartum depression, the sooner they can start treatment and feel better. Treatment for Postpartum Depression The treatment for postpartum depression varies depending on your situation and your doctor’s treatment plan for you. Less severe cases of postpartum depression may be simply treatable with supportive care, while more severe cases may require the prescription of anti-depressants. Speaking with a licensed therapist is an incredibly effective way to help with postpartum depression. What Causes Postpartum Depression? The hormonal shift that occurs in the weeks after giving birth is a big reason people experience postpartum depression, but this isn’t the only reason. The experience of welcoming a child into the world comes along with a variety of unique challenges, such as the need to process a complex series of emotions that you may have never felt before. On top of this, giving birth can be a traumatic experience, leaving some new parents feeling lost or disconnected from themselves. Those who have risk factors for postpartum depression, such as those with mental illness in their family history, are at an increased risk of developing PPD. Tips for Preventing Postpartum Depression It is not always possible to prevent postpartum depression, but it’s worth trying. Some steps that can help you reduce your risk of postpartum depression include the following: Spend time learning about childbirth as well as postpartum recovery during your pregnancy. This way, you will feel more prepared for the childbirth experience and are less likely to feel traumatized afterward. Lean on your family members and support people as much as possible during the postpartum phase. Plan and see if any of your loved ones can drop off a meal for your family during your recovery, so you can rest and have one less thing to worry about. Rest and support your recovery as much as you can. Sleep when you can throughout the day (since you’re likely not getting much sleep at night), make sure you’re eating well, and take any supplements or vitamins that your doctor recommends to help support your recovering body. Be intentional about bonding with your baby. Spend as much time as you can holding and snuggling with your baby so you can build a close bond with one another. Try to lower your expectations. Be OK with a messy home, and don’t rush back to work or exercise before you are ready. Even if you feel ready to exercise sooner than expected, don’t rush into it. Overworking your recovering body can further deplete you and cause you to feel bad later on. Your mental health should be taken seriously in the days and weeks following childbirth. If you suspect that you may be developing postpartum depression, reach out to your health care provider as soon as possible. Welcoming a child into the world is a strenuous process, so be patient with yourself and take as long as you need to recover. Connect With Others Who Have Postpartum Depression The Mighty is a community for people like you who are living with postpartum depression and other mental health conditions. You can read stories from others with similar experiences, join support groups for your condition, and even share your own story. Postpartum Depression Support Groups Postpartum Depression and Anxiety Mental Health Newsletters Mental Health Matters

    Amber Mendoza

    Treatment for Postpartum Depression Saved My Mental Health

    Mother’s Day 2010, the day I found out I was going to be a Mom. I remember the two pink lines on the pregnancy test and the immediate joy I felt to finally have them. Three years of trying and it was finally happening. Looking back, I think the first sign something wasn’t right was when they placed my 6 lb. 15oz little girl in my arms that I had been dying to meet for the last 38 weeks, I instantly started sobbing. Not necessarily tears of happiness, not exactly sadness. Just a pure sense of being overwhelmed. The day we went home from the hospital was the day it really started. What do I do now? How could the nurses really just send me home with her? I didn’t know what to do without them. I had such bad anxiety over everything, I had read so much about SIDS that I couldn’t fall asleep for more than 15 minutes without waking up convincing myself she wasn’t breathing. No sleep and prior mental health issues don’t bode well. I remember one morning after my now ex-husband had gotten home from work, it was probably 2:30-3 am, and was tired from being a new dad and having worked all night, I took the screaming baby to him and said “I can’t do this anymore, she cries and I can’t make her stop. I don’t want her anymore, just take her I can’t do it.” She cried all the time, I obviously wasn’t meant to be a Mom I told myself. She hated me. She would be better off without me, happier. It’s been 11 years since I said those words but I can still see his face in my mind clearly, as if it just happened today. The look of confusion, anger, disgust, hurt. We had planned this child, how could I not want her? I didn’t understand it myself, I couldn’t imagine how he must’ve felt. A mother, the mother of his newborn daughter saying this about a child we desperately wanted. I feel guilty even today for ever having said those things, thinking them. But I know that wasn’t me. Not the me I am today. I don’t remember much about the early days, I don’t know if it’s a blessing or a curse. I have pictures, but the person in them looks blank. Lost. Scared. I went for my 12 week appointment to get my stitches checked. Her birth was traumatic and I had to have an emergency episiotomy while my epidural had worn off. I talked to the doctor about how I was feeling and he told me this is common and that I would get better. That I should’ve spoken up sooner, with the complicated pregnancy, traumatic birth, and prior mental health issues that postpartum depression (PPD) was very likely to be occurring. But it would be better. I would get through this. In that moment I didn’t believe it. I couldn’t see past that minute, in that small office. I felt trapped. I can’t explain it, but I felt as if the walls were caving in on me and all I wanted to do was run so far from that room, away from my daughter, from my then husband, my then mother-in-law. Everything and everyone. It took until my daughter was 7-8 months old for me to even start bonding with her again. I’d always loved her, more than anything, but the bonding hadn’t been there at first. It pains me to admit that. To someone who hasn’t experienced it themselves, I’m sure it makes me sound terrible. I’m thankful I didn’t lose more time to PPD. Seven to 8 months felt like a lifetime. Being diagnosed with PPD really made me take charge and be proactive about the mental health issues I had neglected since my teens. I don’t know how it would’ve turned out had I not been forced to get the help in treating my PPD. I believe as terrible as it was, that it saved me. Today, my daughter is 11. She’s smart, funny, an amazing pitcher in softball; she’s beautiful. We have definitely come so far from those early days. I’m sad that I “missed out,” but I’m thankful I got the help I needed to be there for her now, when she’s old enough to realize if I wasn’t here supporting her. I’m the loudest at her games, her number one fan. Postpartum depression was and is one of the worst things that I’ve ever had to deal with, but we turned it around and made our ending better. I will forever be an advocate for women in the postpartum period. Postpartum depression is scary, you can feel alone. But you’re not alone. I hope we can end the stigma and help other Moms know they’re not alone.

    Community Voices
    Community Voices

    Feel so overwhelmed and alone

    Sometimes I wish I can just drive away without my kids and move to a different country and have my old life. I feel so selfish saying this.

    Community Voices


    Karen Kleiman

    Speaking Out About Postpartum Depression and Anxiety

    When I knocked on their doors in the late 80s, some medical providers listened to me, but most thought they knew everything they needed to know about postpartum depression and anxiety. They believed symptoms of perinatal distress landed on two ends of the spectrum. Either women had severe symptoms, were unable to care for their children, and were possibly at risk of harming themselves or their babies, or every new mother who presented with symptoms of overwhelming anxiety and tearfulness pretty much characterized our culture’s antiquated expectation that “all new mothers feel this way.” Very few health care providers took the time to learn that there was something deeper going on with new moms’ mental health. Women who risked expressing their fears and vulnerabilities were often met with patronizing hyperboles, or in rare instances, they were shocked to discover that Child Services was called to protect their baby from the perils of misinterpreted maternal emotions. Afraid they would be misunderstood, overreacted to, or underreacted to, many new moms learned to stop telling their providers how they were really feeling. Continuing my pursuit for information and answers, I directed my attention to the moms themselves. I encouraged them to talk to me. I said, “Tell me what you are feeling, what you need, what might help you feel better.” They told me they were scared. They told me they never expected being a mother would feel this way. They told me they were terrified no one would understand some of the thoughts and emotions they were having and they would be judged to be a bad mother, or worse, their baby would be taken away. They told me they loved their babies more than anything in the world and they did not believe they were good moms. They told me they never felt this bad in their entire life. They told me no one was listening. So I listened. And I went back to knocking on doors. Today, more people are listening — but not enough. While there is momentum in the right direction, distress cries still go unnoticed and are often dismissed as par for the course for new motherhood. Perinatal distress pierces the hearts of new mothers, and until our culture takes this seriously, women and babies will continue to die. At least 1 out of every 7 women walking into OBGYN offices experiences clinical depression. This is not the blues, an adjustment disorder, or the transition to motherhood. We are talking about serious symptoms t hat meet diagnostic criteria for a mood or anxiety disorder. You cannot tell a mother has a postpartum disorder by looking at her. You cannot assume if she looks “good” or says what you expect to hear that she is fine. If you do not ask the right questions, you have no idea if she is thinking of killing herself or not. We cannot afford not to listen to new moms. And now more than ever, many new moms are incomprehensibly overworked, overtired, and near their breaking points. In today’s uncertain climate with unprecedented stressors and expectations, our mission to protect the mental health of new moms and dads is more imperative than ever. We must ask the hard questions. We must not judge. We must create a safe environment that enables new parents to trust us. We must listen. We must respond with concrete resources and support. After all, these parents are raising the children who are our future. They should not be doing that alone. Karen Kleiman is an author, an advocate, and the Founding Director of The Postpartum Stress Center, LLC.

    Community Voices

    I Can't Afford To Lose Me Again

    I saw a instagram reel about a woman being asked if she's going to have more kids and with everyquestion she was asked, she stated "I can't afford to lose me again".

    "I can't afford to lose me again" hit me HARD.

    With our first son I experienced #PostpartumDepression and #PostpartumAnxiety along with some #PostpartumRage . I was diagnosed with it at 6 months postpartum.

    2 years later we had our second boy and postpartum depression and rage hit me even harder than the first time, undiagnosed this time around. My patience wears thin with having a baby whose usually always fussy while a 2 y/o is clinging to me and wanting attention, sleepless nights and having the stress of household chores being a stay at home mom.
    Some days I want to cry (sometimes I do and days OK). Some days I want to just escape for the day. Some days I just want a bottle of wine and a bubble bath.
    And some days I just don't want to have a mom free title for a day. I am currently working through all my emotions and hope it slowly gets better. It's a process that takes time.


    You always see comments about mothers who suffer with postpartum issues that read "you need to appreciate having children", "you need to be more understanding with your children", "your children need you", etc...but you never see support for the mothers who are experiencing postpartum depression, anxiety and rage.

    Being a mother is hard, but even harder when you're dealing with disorders. I knew being a mom wasn't an easy task, but I also never thought I'd be the one to fall into postpartum disorders. I always thought I'd be the perfect mom, the happiest mom and the fun mom.

    A mother's mental health matters.
    Don't feel guilty needing breaks.
    Don't feel guilty not wanting to be a mom for a day.
    Don't feel guilty for not wanting more kids.
    Don't feel guilty for not feeling like yourself or being the so called "best mom".

    Taking care of yourself is part of taking care of your kids.

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    Community Voices

    YOU ARE NOT #Broken

    <p>YOU ARE NOT <a class="tm-topic-link ugc-topic" title="Broken" href="/topic/broken/" data-id="5bb7ef3ab18c2500ace5bf4d" data-name="Broken" aria-label="hashtag Broken">#Broken</a> </p>
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    Community Voices

    I feel so guilty 😔 sorry for the rant.

    Some days are good then there are days like today. I am very pregnant and baby should be here in a few weeks, but I feel so bad for my low moods.
    Not getting out of bed, doing my chores, taking care of myself, and just being depressed. Not even these little things but big things too that I've been procrastinating for some time, I feel like I could go on and on about things I need to do. I can't really put it into words... I really just want to be better for my husband and soon to be son 😪. My husband is doing sooo much for me and i just want to be helpful as well, be a team. It hurts so much that my depression is still here and strong.
    I feel guilty for feeling this way. And no this is not just hormones... though they probably make things worse.
    I made a choice that I want to live a few weeks ago, I am not going to give up. But dang this is hard.
    #mamas #Motherhood #ChronicDepression #Suicide #PostpartumDisorders #Pregnancy

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    Community Voices

    Invitation to a Brand New Community

    <p>Invitation to a Brand New Community</p>
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