Hi, New Mom!
You just gave birth and became a parent. Congratulations! The journey of pregnancy and childbirth encapsulates every emotion on the spectrum. Since your baby was born, you must have felt excited, and stressed, and happy, and worried, and loving, and tired. Definitely tired. Postpartum depression (PPD) can make this time even more challenging, but don’t worry – it’s reversible. This is how.
You carried a baby, gave birth, and changed your life forever. That’s huge! Between the hormonal changes that you experienced, the hardship of childbirth itself, the overwhelming fatigue, the adjustment to a new reality with a highly dynamic routine, and, you know, having to care for a baby, it is only natural that you feel off. Actually, about 80% of women are subject to Baby Blues, a phenomenon characterized by sadness and mood swings after giving birth. If after two weeks, symptoms don’t ease, you may be experiencing postpartum depression.
No one likes to talk about postpartum depression. Many women are ashamed to be experiencing negative feelings while everyone around them is thrilled, and therefore refrain themselves from sharing their pain. But the truth is that 10-15% of women suffer from PPD.
What are the associated symptoms?
- Mood swings and uncontrollable crying
- Elevated anxiety levels and panic attacks
- Low energy and fatigue
- Feeling worthless
- Feeling detached from your baby
- Lack of appetite and consequential weight loss
- Lack of sleep or oversleep – even when the baby is sleeping
- Difficulties concentrating and making decisions
- Low libido
You don’t need to check all the boxes in order to be diagnosed with PPD. Different women experience the condition in different ways. If symptoms on the list resonate with you, please seek professional help. Our board-certified doctors at Antidote are waiting for your call.
What causes postpartum depression and how do you treat it?
It’s hard to pinpoint what triggers PPD, and the harsh truth is that any woman, regardless of age, race, education, or income level may suffer from PPD. It is believed to be connected to biological, psychological, and environmental factors. For example:
- Hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy and childbirth
- Family and personal history of depression and other mood disorders
- Lack of sufficient support
- Sleep deprivation
- Heightened anxiety levels
- Loss of control and routine
Because PPD is linked to so many varying factors, treatment usually includes both medication and counseling. As you seek external help, there are things you can do on your own. Start by maintaining a routine – try to sleep when your baby does, eat healthy foods, and drink enough water. Find time to do things that bring you joy, like reading or watching a show. Exercise when you can. Nothing extraordinary, stretches and a walk outside with the baby in a stroller is plenty. Ask a friend to join you for the walk. Aim to complete small tasks – and delegate the rest. Share your feelings with a therapist and join a group of new parents. If you were prescribed pills – take them (some pills are safe to use even when breastfeeding).
Self-care isn’t selfish
After giving birth, everything naturally becomes about the baby. But that doesn’t mean that you ought to neglect your own health. Taking care of yourself is not selfish. On the contrary, it is the only way for you to fully be there for your child. Asking for help with everyday activities from your partner, parents, or friends isn’t a weakness. Meeting with a therapist or a support group of moms who share your experience is nothing to be ashamed of. Allow yourself the space to heal and feel better, for you and your family.
Remember that PPD is a serious condition, but that it is reversible as long as you take control of your health. Start your path back to normalcy with Antidote’s board-certified doctors today.