What is Postpartum Depression?
For decades, no maybe centuries, mothers have dealt with Postpartum Depression (PPD) or Postpartum Mood Disorders (PMD).
“Why are you crying??? You have a healthy baby! Cheer up!”
“Oh honey…..you are just experiencing baby blues……it will pass in just a few days.”
“Our family does not get Postpartum Depression….that’s only crazy women who get that!”
“Postpartum is just for first-time moms. You have 4 children…that can’t be you.”
“Why don’t you just take a nap…you are just tired. I am sure you will feel better after your nap.”
You may be questioning, "Do I have Postpartum." If you have experienced Postpartum Depression or a Postpartum Mood Disorder, these quotes may seem very familiar. You may have had a family member, spouse, or friend say one or all these statements or you may have told yourself these things. Maybe, even more alarming, your doctor has made these statements. This may leave you thinking you cannot express how you are truly feeling and cause you to internalize what you are going through. If this is you, please know YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!! There is help for mothers who are dealing with Postpartum Depression (PPD) or Postpartum Mood Disorder (PMD).
Postpartum Depression is much more common than most realize! According to a study completed 2018, PPD affects approximately 15-20% of mothers a year with approximately 25-50% experiencing symptoms lasting more than six months. Many studies and researchers agree that PPD often occurs within the first few months to a year after birth; however, some studies reported occurrences of PPD 4 to 5 years after birth. Currently, in Oklahoma, it is estimated that 20-25% of mothers experience some form of Postpartum; higher than national and world averages. As women, we must start speaking out as to what PPD is and how it affects mother, babies, and their families. One recent study estimated that 10% of partners whose significant other has been diagnosed with Postpartum experience some form of Major Depression and/or Anxiety. Creating discussions with expectant mothers and new mothers is vital! We need to advocate that PPD be acknowledged and treated. So many mothers suffer alone due to the stigma and fear associated with not living up to their own or others' expectations.
Symptoms of Postpartum Depression
Lack of interest in the baby
Guilt, shame or hopelessness
Loss of interest, joy, pleasure in things previously enjoyed
Possible thought of harming self or baby
Anger or irritability
Appetite and sleep disturbance
Crying and sadness
Risk Factors associated with Postpartum Depression
Personal or family history of depression, anxiety, or postpartum
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD or PMS)
Inadequate support in caring for the baby
Marital or partner stressors
Education level, age and race
Complications in pregnancy, birth, or breastfeeding
Major recent life event: loss, job change, relocation
Mother of multiples or infant in NICU
Mothers who have gone through infertility treatment
Women with Thyroid imbalance or any form of diabetes (type 1, 2 or gestational)
There is hope for mothers who are experiencing PPD. First, know you are not alone. Make an appointment with your doctor to discuss the symptoms you are having, possible risk factors you may have and ways to manage these symptoms. Find a therapist in your area who treats PPD. There is a substantial body of research showing that Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) are helpful in reducing the symptoms of PPD and increasing interpersonal satisfaction within the family.
At times medications are needed to treat the brain chemistry and require follow up with your doctor on a routine basis.
Reach out to online support group forums to gain a greater support system.
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If you are in the Oklahoma City area and are looking for a therapist, please contact me and schedule an appointment.
To all you new mommies out there, you are not alone! Please reach out. Another woman/mother has been down this road before and WANTS to walk this journey with you.
#Momsrockingfirstyears Therapy Group @ Hope Restored Counseling LLC, OKC, OK