I am not a medical doctor and I am not disclosing medical advice. This post is on an “as-is” basis. As always consult your physician for any medical advice.
Postpartum depression is a taboo subject. You mention to people you’re expecting and all they tell you is about how excited they are for you, how much you will enjoy being a mother, and how you have never understood true love until you look at your newborn baby. People tell you how beautiful you look and how the morning sickness will pass, but you know what they don’t tell you? They don’t speak about after the baby is born. They don’t want to talk about what happens when you go home with your brand new baby and your spouse goes back to work. Now I am not saying postpartum depression exists in every woman (or in every pregnancy), but it exists and it is more prominent than you may think.
Some people may mention baby blues to you. They may tell you that being sad once a baby is born is normal as your hormones adjust to not being pregnant any longer. But what happens when that sadness turns into depression? When those feelings are no longer “healthy baby blues”? Let’s start simple.
What are baby blues?
The exact cause of “baby blues” has not been determined. However, it is chalked up to hormone imbalance after the birth of a baby. These hormone fluctuations can cause a mother to be sad.
Symptoms of baby blues.
Crying (for no apparent reason)
How long do baby blues last?
Baby blues usually hit in spurts throughout the day. On average a few minutes to a few hours per day. By fourteen days postpartum these symptoms should dwindle or be completely gone.
When is my sadness no longer “baby blues”?
This can be a challenging question and it varies from person to person, but usually, if your symptoms last for more than fourteen days after the birth of your baby, or if your feelings of sadness increase you could have postpartum depression.
Symptoms of Postpartum Depression.
No interest in your baby.
Loss of interest in things you used to enjoy.
Withdrawing from family and friends.
Feeling sad, hopeless, or overwhelmed.
Thoughts of hurting yourself or your baby.
Postpartum depression symptoms can vary in severity so make sure to consult your physician if you are experiencing any of the symptoms above.
Reasons a mother could experience postpartum depression.
Stressful labor or delivery.
Having a child that needs to be in the NICU.
Lack of support during delivery.
Lack of support once your baby is born.
A birth that with invasive interventions.
Sometimes it manifests with no reason at all.
Postpartum depression is a monster that came into my head and destroyed my soul. It ate me alive from the inside and I felt hopeless and out of control. My hair was greasy and messy some days, but some days my makeup was done. I was dirty until I was clean. I was crying until I was smiling.
The most difficult part of my battle with postpartum depression was the day to day rollercoaster ride. I would feel everything all at once and the next day I would feel nothing at all. Postpartum depression does not discriminate. It does not care if you are rich or if you are a teen mother. It doesn’t care if you have close family or if you just paid off your car. Postpartum does not care about anything. If it decides to hit you, it will hit you pretty damn hard, without worry if you can get up or not.
I will not remain silent about the struggles of postpartum depression. I am not less of a wife, less of a mother, or less of a human being for battling postpartum depression. I felt so alone after the birth of each of my kids. No two experiences with postpartum depression are the same. It is a horrible feeling and I wish more mothers would talk about their experience. How can you not want to eat? How can you feel alone in a room full of family and friends? Why the hell am I so sad when I just had a baby? In a room full of friends and family I felt alone. Not many people even knew I was sad.
Postpartum depression can be hard for others to recognize. Especially others who are not around very often. Inside though, I was dying. I was overwhelmed, sad, tired, angry, and I was hurting not only emotionally but also physically. I want need you to know that if you have experienced this or are currently experiencing this, you are not alone. It is so easy to speak of the positives of having a child, but majority of people won’t ever mention their battle with postpartum depression. Fighting an internal battle in your head can be so very exhausting. I can not express the importance of letting other people in and asking for help. You are not weak and nothing is wrong with you. Just talk about it and get help.