Postpartum depression is a reality that most new mothers are faced with after giving birth. During this phase of your life, you are passing through a physically stressful period of sleepless nights and most likely nutritional deficiencies. Gradually, this takes a toll on your mental health as well. This level of mental health challenges during postpartum only aggravates without the support of a medical team and family nearby support.
How To Cope with Postpartum
CDC statistics reveal that 1 in 8 women struggle with postpartum depression. Symptoms may linger for weeks, months, or even up to a year. Am I doing it right? Did I really need to put myself in this situation? Why do I need to suffer? Am I not worth being a mom? Am I an incompetent mom? Why won't anyone offer to help me? When will I get a piece of my life back?
About 80 percent of new moms struggle to find answers to these questions, which are part of the baby blue syndrome- an onset to Postpartum Mental Health Decline. For some women, these feelings go away in a week or two, but for 15 percent of first-time mothers, these feelings of anxiety, rage, anger, sadness, and worthlessness sometimes grow into postpartum depression. Sadly, in some cases, new moms may even entertain violent thoughts against themselves or their new-born, anger easily or not be able to temper small upsets in when things minorly go wrong.
Postpartum depression is part of numerous conditions known as perinatal mood disorders.
You may be experiencing postpartum mental health decline if you have just given birth and:
Struggling With Postpartum Depression? Here are some next steps for getting help.
If you are Family or a Friend of a Postpartum Mom…here is how you can help
Don't wait to be asked. Show up with a meal in hand. Prepare you to tidy the home or cook without the need for permission or being asked. Boundaries are important so understand that your loved one may not be 100% comfortable with your help. So, do not judge, do not condescend, and do not criticize. Help and never expect repayment.
Family members and relatives of a new mother should always be on the lookout for the symptoms listed above. When a person is depressed, they look different. They may look sad and detached or may daydream (disassociate) while you are talking to them. They could even look well but be functioning while their entire closet of clothes are in a dirty pile on the floor. You just never know because depression has no face. If you are able to offer help and support from day 1, your support will help your loved one be more willing to share when something is wrong.
Starting the dialogue about what you are feeling
Many moms experience depression without being understood, taken seriously, and dismissed by loved ones. Sadly, such women struggle to convince families that they need help to overcome anxiety, stress, and depression. In this case, it might help to start a family conversation around your common goal, that is, like having a strong bond between you and your baby. A mentally balanced mom can develop a deeper bond with her newborn.
If you need help wording a request for help, Copy & Paste this message and send it to whomever you need help from: Use this next line to start a conversation,
I'm feeling unlike myself, and I understand that what I am feeling may be Postpartum Depression. I was told prior to having the baby that if I start feeling off/different/ unable to balance myself, I should ask for help. So, I am asking. Please come over and help me. I likely won't know what to ask for first. So, if you see something you can do- just do it. Thank you for being someone I can trust with my feelings during this time.
***If nobody understands and you are unable to call on help from a loved one, seek medical advisement from your provider. Simply call your OBGYN and ask to “Speak to the Nurse on a call about my Mental Health.” Talk about symptoms with your Nurse, Nurse Practitioner, OBGYN or General Provider to understand the next steps that are best for you.