Postpartum depression. A term so many of us have heard but can’t possibly fully understand until we, or someone we love, goes through it. There have been too many times in the past that the effects of postpartum depression have had dire results. Cases in which mothers commit suicide or harm their children after having a baby, pop up in the news all the time.
Did you know that, following the birth of a new baby, 50-80 percent of women experience some level of emotional letdown? Fortunately, the majority of these cases are simply “baby blues”, which is a mild form of postpartum depression that only lasts a few weeks.
If the depression worsens, or lasts more than a month, it is generally labeled as postpartum depression. Extremely severe cases, known as postpartum psychosis, are more rare and, mothers going through this, often experience hallucinations which may result in them harming themselves or their baby.
Postpartum Depression is Not Only Characterized by Depression
Contrary to what you might believe, postpartum depression is not always characterized by depression alone. If you, or someone you know, is experiencing any of the following effects within a couple months after giving birth, postpartum depression may be the culprit:
- Memory Loss
- Feeling Hopeless
- Absence of Emotion
- Sleeping All The Time
- Inability to Concentrate
- Feeling Extremely Overwhelmed
- Have Thoughts of Running Away
- Inability to Care About Anyone or Anything
- Extreme Feelings of Inadequacy as a Mother
- Inability to Sleep No Matter How Exhausted You Are
- Mood Swings with Extreme Highs and Extreme Lows
- Inability to Feel an Emotional Connection to Your Baby or to Anyone Around You
My Experience with Postpartum Depression
My own battle with postpartum depression (PPD) has opened my eyes to how severe this condition can really be. I never understood how a mother could simply stop caring for her child and was sure that no level of hormonal imbalance could truly result in this. However, when my son was just a few weeks old, I started to experience it for myself.
During my experience with PPD I was never depressed. Most of the time, I didn’t feel anything. I wasn’t happy, sad, upset, or anything else. I just didn’t care. Nothing that had been important to me before, mattered. I felt like I was on autopilot. I took care of my boys because I knew that’s what a mother should do.
All I ever felt when I looked at my boys, was annoyance. I was frustrated and angry that I had to care for them. Annoyed that they depended on me for everything. I wanted to pack my bags, leave them at my mother’s house, and never come back. I wished for the days when it was just me and I didn’t have any kids to take care of.
I Did Overcome it Eventually
It took me months to overcome my PPD and, sadly, I did it on my own because, while I was going through it, I simply didn’t care enough to confide in anyone. I was angry that nobody did anything to help me care for my boys. Afterwards, I felt so ashamed that I could look at my boys and simply not care. I felt so ashamed that everything that had meant the world to me before, no longer meant anything. I knew I was a horrible mother and was sure that if anyone were to know what had happened they would feel that I wasn’t fit to be a mother to my boys. I was so scared that my boys would be taken away.
It took me a long time to come to terms with what had happened and the feelings I’d had during that time. I look at my boys now and my heart swells with love. Every day as I leave work, I look forward to seeing every one of them and hug them tight. I let them know everyday how much I love them and how much they mean to me.
How Can You Help Someone Suffering from Postpartum Depression
Postpartum depression is real and if you know someone going through it, or someone that is going through the baby blues, one of the best things you can do is offer support. Let them know you love them. Offer to take the baby and let them have a couple hours to sleep or to get out of the house.
After having a baby, your body experiences a dramatic drop in an array of hormones. This sudden drop can leave you feeling tired and depressed. Add a new baby to the equation, and you get a mother who desperately needs sleep to recover from these sudden changes, but is unable to sleep because most babies take weeks or months before they sleep through the night!
It’s my belief, that you can help a loved one overcome postpartum depression, or overcome it yourself, using natural remedies. I never took prescriptions to treat my postpartum depression and I believe 100% that, as long as postpartum psychosis hasn’t developed, it can be treated through natural means. It does take consistency, determination, and a lot of work but when you come out on the other side it’s all worth it. To read about some natural remedies see the following page:
Thank you for reading. Has you or anyone you know suffered from Postpartum Depression? If you have any additional thoughts or questions, please leave me a comment below. I will answer all of them!