Postpartum depression (PPD) has been something that has plagued women after birth for, I’m sure, centuries. Only in recent years has it been brought into the spotlight and it is more openly talked about. With celebrities, such as Christy Teagan, speaking out about their experience with PPD, it is less taboo. There are things that all new moms should know about postpartum depression.
PPD is a depression women feel, following childbirth. It carries the same symptoms of depression but is mainly tied with the care of the child and motherhood. For more information, click here.
When you’re discharged from the hospital, you should be given an information pamphlet about PPD. Make sure that you and your partner read it.
If you feel you might be suffering from PPD, consult your doctor.
Here are the 5 things I believe all new moms should know about postpartum depression (PPD).
1. Postpartum Depression is not your fault
PPD can be caused by multiple factors. The change in hormones after birth and the sleep deprivation during the newborn stage is a lethal combination. These are things that a mom cannot control.
Some women may have greater changes and surges in their hormones which can cause instability in how they are feeling. In the first couple of weeks, the body is not just internally trying to get back to normal but physically, also trying to heal from childbirth.
If you think you have PPD or experiencing feelings of anxiety, guilt, and or fatigue. Maybe even an inability to connect with your baby, speak with someone. These feelings are not your fault and trying to navigate it on your own is overwhelming. Speak to someone you trust. This is something so important to know about PPD, it is not your fault.
2. Have an open dialogue with your partner about Postpartum depression
When my husband and I learned we were expecting our first, PPD was something we discussed openly. I told my husband that I felt it was important for him to read up on it and get familiar with the symptoms and signs of PPD. I knew that if I had PPD, I would not be able to see it or I would be too ashamed to speak out.
Having someone recognize the symptoms and intervene can help tackle PPD before it gets out of hand.
It is important to share openly with someone you trust. Shedding light decreases the power it has over you. You can get the support you need, whether that is talking about it or medication, if necessary.
3. Postpartum Depression can happen anytime within the first year
Usually, after the first 3 months, you start to feel better, you are physically feeling more like yourself too. However, PPD is something that can hit anytime within the first year of having your babe.
I had a minor battle with PPD during my baby’s 3-4 month sleep regression phase. The pressure I put on myself to lay healthy sleep foundations left me feeling defeated and short-tempered. I felt guilty for my lack of patience and felt detached from my baby.
During that same 3-4 month regression phase, I lost a close family member which intensified my emotions and the anxiety I was feeling about my baby’s sleep.
A traumatic loss or surge of emotions can trigger PPD, so make sure you have that support around you. Your mental and emotional health is important not just for you but for your baby too.
If you’re struggling with baby sleep, check out Taking Cara Babies. She has great free and paid resources.
4. Postpartum anxiety is not the same as postpartum depression
There is a difference between PPD and postpartum anxiety (PPA). PPA is a close cousin of PPD and is more common than you think. It affects approximately ten percent of new moms, says the American Pregnancy Association.
PPA and PPD can have overlapping symptoms such as feeling tired and anxious. The difference between PPD and PPA is that instead of feeling extreme lows or disinterest in the baby, PPA manifests as an unbalanced sense of worry. Constantly feeling on edge or worried about the welfare of the baby. It can even go as far as PPA causing you to distrust your partner in the care of your newborn. PPA can also show up in physical ways, such as an inability to focus on a task or restlessness.
Although at first glance PPA may seem like PPD, however, they are different and need to be handled as separate issues. If you’re feeling an irrational sense of worry, speak to your doctor. Don’t let PPA control you and how you care for your little one.
For more information, check out this resource that I found helpful.
5. Give yourself Grace
Being a parent is hard and you’re doing an amazing job, mama. No matter how well behaved or well adjusted your baby is, motherhood comes with its challenges. Social media can add to the pressure with its unrealistic portrayal of motherhood. Comparing is inevitable.
I am super guilty of that. My little girl is an amazing babe, sleeps well once asleep, eats like a champ and overall very flexible to whatever my husband and I seem to do. When I would have bad days (and every parent will), where my daughter just wouldn’t sleep or was going through something and was crying nonstop, I would have people tell me that I should count myself lucky.
This caused me to feel like a failure as a mom. I would have doubts about my abilities if I couldn’t comfort her, sleep her or if I made a mistake because- “how could I mess it up when my baby is so good“.
I would compare and wonder what I am doing wrong because this mom on Instagram is doing it with four kids and here I am struggling with one!
Stop the comparisons. She’s not a better mom than you,
All babies are amazing little humans. Some babies adjust better than others, hey, it’s a brand new world for them, it’s normal if your babe cries.
Motherhood is the hardest but most rewarding thing you will do if you chose to do it. Give yourself grace. The learning curve is huge and each new stage of growth is a new curve you need to adjust to, again.