Journey Through PostPartum Depression
She was just a couple of weeks old, I was exhausted and I had been diagnosed with depression during the pregnancy so I knew there was a high chance that it would continue on after birth, PostPartum Depression. I was so determined to not suffer it, I went for therapy before she was born, I learned how to breathe through, journal through, pray through, work out through, read through, listen to music through, encourage myself through, through the pain, calm my thoughts and replace them with good happy thoughts.
So when weeks into being a new mom I caught myself thinking about those moms who beat up their newborn babies and oddly understanding them and relating with what they might have been feeling I knew what those thoughts were. I remember lying on the bed at night holding my wailing baby who would not sleep, nurse or even keep quiet. I talked to her waiting for an answer, she just cried and I along with her. I had done this once before, why can’t I seem to get motherhood for the second time right.
Looking back, the sore nipples, the sleepless nights, the bleeding CS wound that landed me back in hospital 6 days after giving birth with an infection that had the possibility of taking me back into theater, learning to parent all over again. I am grateful that I came out of it. I remember calling my midwife friend, Lucy and the moment she entered my door I started wailing, an angel had just come to my rescue, I almost wanted her to move into my house. Talking to her, she reminded me of simple things that had gotten me through motherhood the first time, there was hope that this too shall pass.
Did you know that second time moms are more likely to suffer PPD because of the expectation they place on themselves? I have done this before, how comes I can’t seem to do it right this time?
As I have done research on PPD, I have learned that there is something called PostPartum OCD, where the mother (mostly) is obsessed with the baby and cleanliness, you feel like you are the only one who can take care of your baby. So from breastfeeding, cleaning the bottles, washing, everything about the baby becomes an obsession. Sometimes it’s called PostPartum anxiety because the symptoms are very similar.
PPD affects more than 10% of new moms, this number could be higher because a lot of new mothers do not seek medical advice or do not even know that they are suffering depression.
Reduce the expectations you have of yourself when you become a new mother, but most importantly ignore the expectations that ‘society’ has on you as a mother. Know that you are enough for your baby. Remember taking care of yourself is the biggest part of taking care of your baby.
Some women are at higher risk for PPD. The strongest predictors of postpartum depression are:
- Depression or anxiety during pregnancy
- Stressful life events during pregnancy or soon after giving birth
- Traumatic childbirth experience
- Preterm delivery
- A baby needing neonatal intensive care
- Lack of social support
- Previous history of depression
- Breastfeeding problems
Other risk factors include:
- Baby blues after delivery
- Unplanned or unwanted pregnancy
- A baby with birth defects or other medical problems
- Multiple babies (such as twins or triplets)
- Family history of psychiatric problems
- Being single
- Low socioeconomic status or financial instability
- Domestic violence
- Many medical appointments during pregnancy
- Pregestational or gestational diabetes
Baby Center has a quiz that you can take to https://www.babycenter.com/5_postpartum-depression-ppd-quiz_10351692.bc
While recovering from postpartum depression;
- Try to take time for yourself.
- Get out of the house every day, even if it’s just for a short walk around the block.
- Reach out to supportive family and friends for both emotional and household help.
- Don’t try to do everything yourself.
- Consider joining a new mothers support group or starting one in your area.
Additional facts from Baby Center
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- The Bags That Feed Me
- I Took a Mama’s Break!!!
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- The Passports Are Here!!!
- Getting a Passport for Your Child