Recognizing Postpartum Depression: Speak up when you’re down
Highs & Lows, ups & downs the many moods of PPD:
Every new baby is one of a kind and so is every new mom. Some women seem to sail through pregnancy and the first days of motherhood joyfully. Others ride a roller coaster of emotions, feeling happy and excited one minute and lonely or tearful the next. Most of the time, feelings of sadness are mild and pass quickly but sometimes they are serious and don’t go away. The important thing is to understand the difference and to get help when it is needed.
Up to 80% of new mothers cry easily or feel stressed following the birth of a baby. These known as the “baby blues” usually go away in a couple of weeks. However, some women feel a heavy sadness that doesn’t go away. These women may have postpartum depression (PPD) or more rarely, a condition known as postpartum depression (PPD) or more rarely, a condition known as postpartum psychosis. A woman with one of these more serious problems may have difficulty bonding with her baby. She may feel that she is not a good mother. She may think that she doesn’t love her baby enough.
These feelings are upsetting. However, women need to know that treatment is available.
PPD: Temporary & Treatable:
Having a baby is a life change. PPD can affect any woman who:
*Has recently had a baby
*Has ended a pregnancy or has miscarried
*Has stopped breast-feeding
PPD can appear days or even months after childbirth. The warning signs are different for everyone but include:
*Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
*Changes in appetite-eating much more or much less
*Feeling irritable, angry or nervous
*Not enjoying life as much as in the past
*Lack of interest in the baby
*Lack of interest in friends and family
*Lack of interest in sex
*Feeling guilty or worthless
*Feelings of being a bad mother
*Thoughts of harming the baby or herself
Family and friends may feel upset by these mood changes; in fact, they may notice that there is a problem even before the new mom does. They can help by being patient and supportive.
Love and support, however may not be enough. When symptoms last longer than two weeks or affect a woman’s ability to enjoy her daily life, loved ones should encourage the new mother to get help right away. Whether symptoms are mild or severe with proper treatment, anyone can recover from PPD.
Young & Older Urban & Suburban PPD can affect anyone:
No one is 100% sure why postpartum depression happens but risk factors include:
*Change in the body hormone levels
*A difficult pregnancy
*A birth that did not go as planned
*Medical problems with the mother or baby
*Not getting enough sleep
*Loss of freedom
*Sudden changes in the home or work routines
*Personal or family history of depression
*Previous experience with PPD
*Not having enough support from family and friends
*High levels of stress
Although some women are more likely to experience depression than others, PPD can happen with any pregnancy or birth, even if a woman has had other babies without emotional problems. Women of every culture, age, income level and race can have PPD.
It is important to remember that PPD is no one’s fault and treatment is available.
When a woman has a baby…
1 woman in 10:
Experiences depression during pregnancy. These symptoms are like the baby blues but happen before the baby is born.
8 women in 10:
Experience the baby blues after giving birth. They may cry for no apparent reason, feel impatient, irritable, restless and anxious.
1 woman in 8:
Experience postpartum depression. A woman with PPD may feel sluggish, sad, confused, anxious, irritable, guilty and have difficulty remembering things. She may have trouble eating and sleeping. She may have fears of harming the baby or herself. Her moods might change from being very happy to very sad. She may feel out of control. She may want to avoid seeing people or talking about her feelings.
1 woman in 1000:
Experiences postpartum psychosis, which usually happens within the first three months after birth. This illness is rare and symptoms are very severe. A woman with psychosis does not know what is real and what is imagined. She may have hallucinations or delusions. She may not be able to sleep. Her actions may be unpredictable.
In New Jersey:
Between 11,000 and 16,000 women suffer from PPD every year.
Speak up when you’re down 1-800-328-3838.
If you think you or a loved one may have PPD:
*Talk about your feelings with people you trust.
*Tell your doctor
*Ask family and friends to help care for the baby
*Eat a healthy diet
*Exercise for more energy
*Join a PPD support group
*Seek treatment if feelings of unhappiness last longer than two weeks
*Call 1-800-328-3838 to find treatment services near your home (New Jersey residents)
Healthy feelings between a mother and her child are important for the baby’s physical and emotional growth. Waiting too long to treat PPD may result in long-lasting effects.
Healthcare providers and licensed counselors can help a women find the treatment that is best for her. This treatment includes the right therapy safe medication and support groups.
Disclaimer: This information was taken directly from the NJSpeakup pamphlet and I give them full credit on the information. Please call them directly for more information on the program and where to help.