Postpartum depression (PPD) can happen to anyone— moments, weeks, even months after giving birth.
If you are about to become a mom or know someone who is, it helps to be informed so you know what to expect. Let’s take a look at postpartum depression and arm ourselves with knowledge so we can cope with it if need be.
8 Things All New Mothers Should Know About Postpartum Depression (PPD)
Here are eight things all new mothers should know about postpartum depression.
1. Postpartum Depression, Also Known as PPD, Is a Mental Condition
It isn’t brought about by a food allergy, climate or anything material. An American Family Physician article defines it as a condition that can and should be treated with therapy. Although each case is different, some may need to take medication or even be admitted to mental care if symptoms persist.
2. Symptoms May Vary From Mom to Mom
If you are affected by PPD, you may experience a number of unsettling emotions. Plus, you will be physically drained. Look out for any of the following symptoms that are often connected with PPD:
Loss of zest for life
Loss of interest in former hobbies
No desire to eat
Sudden and overwhelming sadness
Loss of drive to perform daily tasks
Suicidal thoughts and even tendencies
3. A Two-Week Depression, Known as the “Baby Blues,” is Quite Normal
This mood swing is not to be confused with more serious cases of PPD. Baby Blues are what happen when your body goes through these sudden and extreme changes, plus unusually high hormone levels. After a couple of weeks, your body should regain its normal hormone balance and you should be feeling better.
4. Expect Brain Changes After Becoming a Mom
Ever notice how some new moms become quite forgetful or don’t quite seem themselves for some time? This is because many things are going on (lack of sleep, new responsibilities, etc) —and changing—in a mother’s brain after she gives birth. It’s important to understand and accept that motherhood will bring on these colossal changes. You may experience constant worry for the first time, but also a host of other good things, such as unconditional love and the ability to forgive.
5. Celebrity Moms Get Postpartum Depression, Too!
Many celebrity mothers, famous for their Hollywood roles, have admitted to suffering PPD. These include:
Gwyneth Paltrow -admitted she felt like a failure at motherhood
Bryce Dallas Howard -recommended speaking up about PPD, both for your own sake and to unite with other moms who may be going through it, too.
Brooke Shields -wrote a book all about her time of depression and how she coped.
Courtney Cox -said she experienced insomnia following her birth.
Adele -shared that at times she felt inadequate as a parent and even thought that having a child was the worst decision of her life
sources: Today’s Parent, The Sitter Blog
6. Postpartum Depression Doesn’t last Forever!
The condition can last anywhere from two to six months. If a woman gets progressively worse and loses the desire to seek change and get back to a normal healthy lifestyle, she should seek medical help.
This is especially true if the PPD comes with suicidal thoughts or the desire to harm another person—in some cases, mothers report wanting to harm their own babies. This is very serious and should be dealt with by professionals and doctors.
7. Communication Is One of the Best Cures for PPD
Those who suffer from PPD often feel isolated, and the last thing they want to do is burden someone else with their problems. But it’s best to seek help. Find a support group, such as another mom who understands, and build the support system you desperately need.
Don’t feel bad if you cannot find this source of support in your husband. It is completely normal for him to not understand or even imagine what you are going through. Let him help in other ways such as tending to your other children or handling finances during this time.
Meanwhile, go get some good girlfriends whom you can chat with and communicate with when things feel like too much to handle.
8. Being Willing to Ask for Help Is Part of the Recovery
All mothers—and especially new mothers—want to do everything right. It is easy to feel like failures when PPD hits or experience an overwhelming sense of inadequacy. But don’t let this prevent you from asking for help.
Perhaps it would be better if you outsource chores and child care to a nanny, or hire help for the short amount of time you need to get back on your feet. Mothers who have gone through a C-section especially need time to recover. The physical and emotional changes are taking its toll. Your loved ones and family can support and be there for you—but only if you are willing to acknowledge your need for help.
It’s worth remembering that you’re not alone, and this stage in life is just that: a stage. With motherhood comes changes, but also great joy, happiness and a more well-rounded, full life. Don’t let postpartum depression get the best of you.
Seek help from a doctor, talk to friends and be around those who love, support and cherish you—you’ll get through this, one day at a time!
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