Ok, so whenever I hear the term, Post-Partum Depression, my mind goes right to the scene in Look Who’s Talking where Kirstie Alley is sitting in front of the T.V. holding Mikey and crying hysterically at a commercial. Her hormones are clearly out of whack and her tears are not justified – or are they? When I got pregnant, a handful of girlfriends not only gave me the low down about the birth, but also all the stuff that comes afterward.
Rolling my eyes, I told the girls that I had a good head on my shoulders and I’d never get the baby blues because post-partum depression affects those who are weak (and in my opinion, those who do not have all their ducks in a row). I’m here to tell you it happened to me, and it may (or already had) happen to you. Read on to get the low down on this very real issue.
How Do I Know I Have It?
The depression didn’t set in until I got home from the hospital. I was totally fine with all the nurses around and the ability to have the baby sleep in the nursery so I could rest after my C-section. But, when I got home and the baby decided not to want to sleep pretty much for two days straight, I totally fell apart. At first, I thought I was just tired (and I totally was). But, when I realized that every little thing upset me and the tears would start flowing, I had an inkling that I became another statistic.
In 2015, about 600,000 women will be diagnosed with post-partum depression. Only 15% of women suffering from symptoms ever seek out help.
You may have post-partum depression if:
- Severe mood swings
- Inability to Sleep
- Loss of Sex Drive
- Intense Anger
- Feelings of Guilt
Many women who just give birth demonstrate these symptoms in the hospital but are too ashamed to speak up. The depression goes unnoticed because there are no initial screenings in place by doctors to determine the illness.
What Should You Do?
Most symptoms will go away in a few weeks. Mine did. It wasn’t as though I wasn’t able to get through my day. I totally could. I just had several moments each day where I just could not control my sadness or explain where my tears were coming from. Sometimes I’d cry for an hour straight and be fine the rest of the day.
Because I was aware of what was happening to my body and that my symptoms decreased over time, I didn’t take action. However, if I was still feeling this way after a few weeks, I planned to talk to my doctor.
If your symptoms get worse over time or if you are unable to care for yourself or your baby, call right away. They can help! About 90% of women who see a doctor feel better because they are prescribed medication or receive therapy. All signs and symptoms should be gone around 3 months.
Am I Alone?
You are definitely not alone if you are reading this and thinking that there’s something wrong with you. I never thought it would happen to me and by admitting it, I think it will help other moms realize we are all human and we can’t control everything!
Some celebrities who openly admit to suffering from symptoms are Brooke Shields, Gwyneth Paltrow, Amanda Peet, and Courteney Cox (among others). Read their stories and hear what happened to them when their children were born.
You can also utilize local support groups or a national hotline you can call anytime for advice and help.
Post-Partum Depression is real and it can be combatted. Being aware of the signs and symptoms is the first step and acceptance is key to getting back on the right track to being the best mom possible!