There’s a lot more to postpartum depression than what fits this post. But I wanted to give you a general idea of what it’s about and offer it here to empower you. Figure out what parts you relate to and either talk to your healthcare provider about anything that resonates with you or even do some further research on your own to know what’s going on with your body.
Why The Misunderstanding?
Statistically, 20-25% or 1 in 4 moms experience postpartum depression if we’re only going to focus on that for the sake of this post. First off, the biggest obstacle is being able to differentiate between what is common and what is normal as a mom. Social media can make things seem common based on the amount of memes on a certain topic, when it actually isn’t normal. For instance, we throw the term around mom brain like it’s normal. Women talk about the PPD symptoms as if it’s normal which makes it confusing.
The big difference between a “normal” mom and a mom going through postpartum depression is their ability to adapt. When you’re going through PPD, you don’t have the space to make mental notes because you’re in survival mode. Because of this, many moms don’t realize what’s really going on until they get their head above water.
There’s also a spectrum when it comes to postpartum depression. While some moms may be experiencing suicidal thoughts, other moms may not, causing more confusion.
Also, postpartum depression is often used as an umbrella term when discussing maternal mental health issues. So when we are looking for guidance, a diagnosis, or further understanding of what’s going on in our bodies, it can be hard to decipher when the awareness of other issues like postpartum anxiety, postpartum OCD, postpartum psychosis, and PTSD isn’t out there as much. And to top it all off, different organizations use different terms. Sometimes the terms perinatal, postnatal, and postpartum are thrown around. In research these terms are different and from country to country it’s different as well. It can be really overwhelming for a mom trying to get out of the house.
What Does It Mean To Have Postpartum Depression?
Definition: Depression that lasts longer than 2 weeks, that includes:
- trouble sleeping even when baby is sleeping
- feeling sad, hopeless, or overwhelmed
- you might feel anxious or panicky
- not feeling connected to the baby
- thinking the family would be better off without her
- isolating from friends and family
- unexplained anger or irritability
- fearing you might harm yourself or your baby
- fearing being alone
- fear of leaving the house
- difficulty concentrating
- feelings of guilt
It only takes 5 of these symptoms to qualify for postpartum depression. The symptoms will range from person to person. Some may experience all of these symptoms, or just 5. Some people might experience it 90% of the time and some people might only experience it 50% of the time.
Baby Blues vs. Postpartum Depression
Baby blues applies to new moms in the first 2 weeks after birth. About 80% of new moms experience baby blues in the first 10 days after delivery. This is the first hormonal dump. You get hormonal shifts from pregnancy still as well as postpartum. Your milk is coming in at this time, hormones from delivery have flooded your body, trauma during delivery, and sleep deprivation catches up with moms.
You may experience the sudden urge to cry over things that wouldn’t normally.
It’s when this continues after 2 weeks, that you should question if you have postpartum depression.
Misconceptions of PPD
PPD can last only until the first year of your child’s life.
This comes from the DSM which is a manual that mental health practitioners use to diagnose.
Our take is this is your conceptualization. This is your experience. Don’t worry about what your medical records say. You know your body more than anyone else. If you need help, please seek out that help.
The following you can do online or at a doctor’s office:
There can be false positive and false negatives so be aware of that.
The simplest thing you can do is go to your doctor. If you’re feeling bad or are experiencing some symptoms, go to the doctor for more clarification. Family medical clinics as well as pediatric clinics will support moms with getting a diagnosis as well.
Preventing Postpartum Depression
- Manage your anxiety
- Get a strong support system: This can come from your partner, doula, support from family. Get friend support. If you have no support, please focus on getting it. If you need help, a therapist would be great at helping. Here’s some ways you can search for support:
- MOPS International
- Church Groups if you’re spiritual
- Find moms at the local park
- Join a Buy Nothing group on FB
- Find FB groups specifically for postpartum depression/anxiety. We’re happy to have you at the Natural Postpartum Support FB group!
Support For Postpartum Depression Online
Root Causes For Depression (Taken from the Medical Medium)
- Traumatic Loss: This can include loss of identity as a mom, loss of income (quit or let go from a job), loss of a parent, loss of the mother figure in the past, losf of trust (partner cheating)
- Traumatic Stress: This is severe and sustained stress. If you are suffering from severe stress over a long period of time, you may experience this. Some examples are going down to one income from becoming a stay-at-home mom, a high needs baby,
- Adrenal Dysfunction: This is simply a result of having a baby. Your adrenals are working overtime through the act of childbirth alone. 80% of women experience this after giving birth.
- Viral Infection: 95% of people have the Epstein Barr virus. This can be passed along very easily, by passing saliva. If you have had mono, you have EBV. The Epstein Barr virus feeds off of hormones so after having a baby, it has a field day! Anthony William did a great podcast episode on it and I highly recommend taking a listen.
- Heavy Metals and Other Toxins: Your liver gets loaded with toxins everyday and can have an affect on your depression. Environmental Working Group is a great place to see how healthy the products you currently have are.
- Electrolyte Deficiency: To remain healthy, it needs to maintain a certain level of electrolytes. This was an aha moment for me because I never really thought about the reason why it’s stressed to drink so much water while nursing other than a proper supply.
Healing Foods For Postpartum Depression
- Wild blueberries
- Hemp Seeds
- Coconut Oil
Let Us Know
Was there confusion for you in your postpartum depression? Share in the comments below!
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