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Thread: Postpartum Depression
March 16th, 2013 12:45 AM #11
I haven't had PPD (never having been pregnant), but thank you for this post. It is so important to talk about these issues. I grew up in a family of mental health professionals (dad is a psychologist married to a social worker; mom is a librarian at a mental health hospital), so I have been hearing about the importance of psychological health my whole life. Please please please remember: There is nothing shameful about having depression (post-partum or otherwise) and nothing shameful about needing help. Don't be afraid to talk to your partner, your family, and your doctor if you are having trouble coping. And like Blade said, don't be afraid to accept or ask for help.Estella ~ Helena ~ Miriam ~ Beatrice ~ Anastasia ~ Ivy ~ MarillaPaul ~ Wesley ~ Walter ~ Martin ~ Edmund ~ Fraser ~ Alexander
Trying for baby#1
Avatar: Nathan Altman, Portrait of Anna Akhmatova
March 16th, 2013 01:17 AM #13
I have never been diagnosed with PPD, but I have had some baby blues that leave me with a lot of sympathy for women who do suffer with it.
I did not notice anything with my first or second child apart from what I expected with exhaustion, feelings of inadequacy, or frustration. With my third I think really delt with baby blues. I remember about 2 months after he was born I would break down crying for completely ridiculous things. I remember I was really scared to leave the house because I was terrified I was going to forget one of my kids either at home or the place we were going. I really was so scatterbrained that this was a legitimate fear. I obsessively counted my children all of the time and sometimes I would panick because I thought I had 4 children instead of 3. I also would get really panicky at night and couldn't sleep. My husband, who I think suspected what was going on, would stay up listening to everything that I had to say and would rub my back to help me relax. I don't remember how many months I felt like that, but it eventually tapered off to where I felt myself again.Mom to Henry, Mollie, Gideon, and expecting Clark Ebenezer in November.
March 16th, 2013 02:27 AM #15Senior Member
- Join Date
- Jul 2010
I'm definitely familiar with the topic. I'll share what I can here with only a bit of time to post while the babies are nursing. Since I have a pre-existing condition (bipolar disorder - which was previously diagnosed as depression, general anxiety disorder, and post traumatic stress disorder), it was pretty easy for me to see the signs that I was suffering from PPD-since the feelings were not new to me. However, I can definitely see the danger and stigma in a new mom, who had not had those types of feelings before, not coming forward or asking for help because they believe they are within the normal realm of emotions after birth.
It's definitely more than the "baby blues" (not to discount that by any means) or feeling overwhelmed and tired by being a new mom. It's a feeling of constant worry and dread...like you can't bare to get out of bed or face the world. It's a feeling that you can't do anything right and are not worthy of being a mom. My only strange aspect is that I don't get PPD symptoms right away or even within a month or two of birth. The critical time for me personally seems to be 3-6 months and as I'm starting to get into that period now, I've started to take alot of precautions and keep on top of any symptoms quickly. My earliest symptom or sign that I am going to have an episode or need to make adjustments to a current treatment is "racing thoughts" and lack of concentration. I feel this beginning to happen to me some days and it makes me fast forward and worry about what may be in a few more weeks, but over the years I have developed pretty good (not perfect!) coping skills so I can stop those negative thoughts in their tracks. Because of my long battle with bipolar, my DH and I are pretty intune to my earliest symptoms and we know what works to get me stable. I don't LIKE alot of the things that get me where I need to be (I'm not a medicine fan), but I know what needs to be done if it comes to that.
The only time I've really been diagnosed with PPD was after #2 was born. I was about 3 months pp when I decided I needed to see my therapist and look into medication. He diagnosed me with PPD, but because I had some history with him, he wanted to explore a bipolar dianosis too. Then, a month later, I had a very serious episode and he actually called that "post partum psychosis" (still to this day one of the scariest sets of words I have ever seen)
Some of my symptoms: I tend to swing alot more towards "mixed episodes" or straight mania than full blown depression so they may be different than traditional PPD. Anxiety- worrying about everything, not having an confidence in decisions I've made or being able to make decisions in general (little things like what to wear in the morning could take 40 minutes), feeling alot of pressure to set high goals or be "super mom", not being able to sleep, not being interested in things I normally like alot (even something simple like a tv show- I'd be bored with it or feel like I didn't deserve to watch it because I didn't finish X first), starting a ton of new projects, but never really having any long-term intentions of finishing them, not wanting to socialize at all, etc.
So for me getting past this - I need my DH and extended support system (other family members), I take time for myself to do yoga each day (it's my love) and to read and meditate. I also have a "quiet time" every afternoon here. Everyone has to do something quiet and that gives me alone time to gather my thoughts, journal, call a friend, write a letter, or maybe just text DH or something like that...or it gives me uninterrupted time to finish a task I had started earlier. I really value "quiet time" My faith is a really big part of my recovery. I have several bible verses that I meditate on and repeat to myself when needed. I pray for strength and help.
The last thing I wanted to add was if you do need medication -it's a great thing at times- please speak to your doctor about Dr. Thomas Hale's book on meciations while breastfeeding. Pediatricians, OBs, and Psychiatrists are all great people and they have great intentions for you and your little one, but Dr. Hale has studied and tested this specific topic. He is the expert and he will consult with your doctor or they can pick up his book for information. I continued nursing while taking medications (I've never started taking meds before 4 months after birth though so my nursling(s) was larger and not nursing round the clock then, which Hale often uses as a good guideline for safety). There have only been a few times (I've tried soooo may different drugs and combos over the years) that I've "pumped and dumped" and that was only to be conservative.Wife to one great guy
Mama to six pretty ladies: Scarlett (11), Penelope (9), Alice (3), Fiona (3), and Lucille (14 mo.) & Coraline (14 mo.)
& 4 angels gone before us
~We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.~
March 16th, 2013 07:27 AM #17Senior Member
- Join Date
- Jul 2012
- London, England
Crunchymama, thank you!! Lots of great advice, and it's good (for me at least) to hear from someone else with bp. Boyfriend read your response and has already put "quiet time" and yoga time down as essential parts of the day. It sounds like your husband and you are able to deal with it very well, which is wonderful.
What I'm scared of is the shame. I know that I am at this moment aware of the possibility, and I know it's a normal condition and nothing to really be ashamed of, but when you get PPD I would assume the shame and horror takes control, and I'm terrified I'll be able to hide it from people. I'm already sad about not being able to breastfeed, it feels like one of the biggest most important mother-baby bonding things is taken away from me, and the lack of sleep and extreme uncomfortableness of the late stages of my pregnancy, and I am scared I'll go into motherhood sad and depressed from the start.My darling Marian Illyria Aphrodite, March 2013 & Little Bunny (a girl!) due 9th of February 2014
March 16th, 2013 10:41 AM #19
I have struggled with depression before so I tried to prepare for ppd in a few different ways. I talked a lot with my husband to open his eyes to some warning signs because I know it is the kind of thing that a person might not recognize as happening to herself in the moment but maybe a loved one could see it (as a result, he was so patient and lovely -he always is but he treated me with extra sensitivity and sweetness <3 and regularly checked in with me to see how I was feeling).
Labor did not go how I had envisioned and I took that pretty hard. Eventually, though, I decided to promise to be gentle with myself -that no matter how labor/delivery/the early days went, I was a human worthy of kindness from myself and I was determined to take care of myself as well as my baby.
When I am overwhelmed or sad, I tend to withdraw from others and I was afraid of that happening, especially made easy by a big move to a new state just after our baby was born so I had heart to hearts with my dear friends (the best people in the world, I'm convinced) and they never let me slip away. They kept calling and sending letters/packages/cards, they visited me, and no matter how terrible I was at returning phone calls, they held me close and supported me, they told me I was a great mom. I didn't end up with ppd but I was exhausted and had a hard recovery from delivery (fractured tailbone among other things) and I am incredibly grateful to have felt so cared about and it was so comforting to be affirmed like that in my new role as a mom but also remembered and valued for the things that make me "me".
Anyways, it was a very stressful time for a lot of reasons but it gets easier, it really does. I wish someone had told me that then. As much as I tried to prepare, I still cried a lot and worried that I should be happier. How could I love this baby so much but still be so stressed?? I wasn't prepared to be "on" all the time, you know? I didn't know that some babies hate, hate, hate to be out of their mama's arms for 2 minutes or that I would spend hours and hours nursing every day. -or that breastfeeding might be challenging! Ultimately though, I fell wildly in love with my little baby right away and more and more each day and I decided he deserved a mom who was happy and that gave me peace to take care of myself (a crying baby in a crib would stress me out so much but really, he was okay, and the shower that I put him down for 10 minutes to take was so, so good for my outlook).
Also, though, I was endlessly patient with my baby but I found I had a shorter fuse with my husband. He gently brought it to my attention when I wasn't fair to him and worked with me to figure out what was going on. -I mean, I was pretty ridiculous sometimes. I remember my husband taking the baby into the living room in the morning to let me sleep in a little and baby started crying and husband waited 30 seconds to soothe him and I was so upset! :s I am so thankful to him for not taking these things personally since they weren't like me and instead, being concerned for me and wanting to help. I did get dressed and out of the house most days, even for just a short walk, it really does help.
Ooh, and, this may sound frivolous, but I have always enjoyed playing with clothes and dressing up and it was hard to not feel like myself and to not have a practical wardrobe I felt good in right away. Right after giving birth, few of my clothes fit but the maternity ones were not nursing friendly so it was a recipe for yoga pants and tank tops, which is fine but did not make me feel good. Once I bought a few things that were a little more polished and easy to throw on, it was a lot easier to leave the house -which was huge for me. Eventually my clothes fit again but it took me a long time to be able to really exercise because of my labor injury and that was another hard thing. I just assumed that I would have my baby and resume my fitness activities and that would help with my mood and body image.
Oops, sorry for the novel. But to those of you in the thick of this business of becoming a mother or maybe you already are one, please know, motherhood is challenging (sometimes incredibly so and definitely in ways that you didn't imagine) but you are likely a wonderful mom and no one will love your baby as you do. I am cheering for you. Please be gentle with yourself and let others help you. You are precious, you matter.Mama to my dear little bear <3