One of the major topics I wish people would have talked about more or even told me is postpartum depression ( PPD for short). I’ve dealt with it and I am still currently dealing with it. Some days are worse than others and some days I don’t notice it at all. what is it? What can you do? Does it ever go away? I’m here to answer all of your unanswered questions about postpartum depression. Welcome to Postpartum 101.
What is postpartum depression? well according to webMD it is a type of depression you get after having a baby. It is most common to feel symptoms during the first few weeks after birth but, you can feel the effects any time during the first year.
What are the symptoms? postpartum depression symptoms may include:
-intense irritability and anger
-trouble bonding with baby
-sleeping too much
-feeling like you are not a good mother
-eating less or eating too much
-building a wall between family and friends
-panic attacks/ anxiety attacks
-thoughts of self-harm or suicide
-thoughts of harming your baby
what should you do if you start to feel this way? I want to be the first to say that you should not be embarrassed. your feelings matter and are not irrelevant. You should contact your doctor if you start to feel worse or they don't fade away after two weeks. If you are having thoughts about hurting yourself or your baby please seek immediate help. reach out to close family or friends. You can also reach out to the suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) or use their webchat at suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat
What causes postpartum depression? well according to mayoclinic.org there isn't a single cause to postpartum depression but a couple of causes are:
-physical changes- your body changes a lot during pregnancy and after childbirth. You have to get used to not fitting into your size 2 jeans anymore. Your belly area is different, you have stretch marks, more so now than you did before having your little bundle of joy.
-emotional changes- having a newborn baby is stressful especially being overwhelmed and sleep-deprived, it just makes things worse. You may feel less attractive and you may feel like you are unable to care for your newborn child. There are several factors that come into play.
it is reported that approximately 60-70% of women suffer from PPD ( about 1 in 7 women are affected). That is just about 600,00 women, but you have to understand that those numbers just refer to live births. When we add women who have had miscarriages or stillbirths the number is around 900,000 who suffer from PPD. Those numbers are also just in the US! Postpartum depression affects so many women from around the world. Postpartum depression for Asian countries could be at 65% or more. If all countries are accounted for postpartum depression affects hundreds of millions of women annually. That is crazy, isn’t it?
What is even more crazy is that medical experts believe the rate of postpartum depression could be twice as high than what is actually reported/ diagnosed. Postpartum depression affects all ethnicities, cultures and educational or economic backgrounds. Did you know that postpartum depression can affect men as well? 10% of new dads also show signs of depression. Men whose partners have postpartum depression will begin to develop depression themselves.
In the end, just remember that you are strong and you are able to do many things. It's okay to not be okay and it is most definitely okay to walk away. Don't feel embarrassed and seek help when you need it. Your child loves you more than anything in this world.