Self Care series (1). Postpartum Depression Edition
Self Care Sundays: Postpartum Depression Edition (1).
Hi lovely Bumpnnub followers! Its so nice to have you here, it really is.
A few weeks ago I asked you guys about self care, and I got big response from new parents across the globe asking for ideas, information and discussion about self care with a ‘Self-Care Sundays series’ . So, here we are. The flow of ‘self care Sundays’ sounds nice, so I hope this finds you on a beautiful Sunday (or any day really!!). Lets dive in.
Having a baby is one of those milestones many women dream about since they are young.
We think of what our babies will look like, dream up creative names, and all the while- we think of how incredible it's going to be to become a mama. (Note- I am totally aware this is not every woman by any means. I have met many women who have never felt a pull to motherhood prior to becoming pregnant and thats totally fine!)
A lot of women, prior to becoming pregnant or giving birth often dream up what their lives will look link once they have a baby (I sure do)!
But sometimes, things don't go according to plan. Sometimes we are left feeling lost, hopeless, and sad after our babies are born - and without being entirely sure where to turn, or what's even going on, we get lost in a sea of emotion and become withdrawn, and wonder why we are feeling this way or why any of this is happening. After all...aren't we supposed to be happy after our babies are here? Thats what we see of new motherhood on billboards and social media after all…
For our very first edition of Self Care Sundays, we want to introduce you to Postpartum Depression.
We want you to know that you are absolutely not alone, and give you some signs and symptoms to be on the lookout for. Personally, I have just graduated from a degree in perinatal mental health, a postgraduate degree from midwives. The more I learn about the rates of mental health issues, the more I know we need to speak about it! As someone that suffers from anxiety myself, I know it can feel like alienating, but hey gal, we are here all together. I got you, and so does this community.
What Is Postpartum Depression?
Postpartum Depression is a three-part generalized mood disorder that affects women within the first year of having given birth. The three parts involved within the spectrum are:
Postpartum Depression (PPD)
Postpartum Psychosis (PPS)
The Baby Blues are generally the least severe form of PPD. This can include mood swings, crying for seemingly no reason, anxiety, or feeling impatient. The symptoms can last anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours per day, and usually resolve within 14 days of onset. As many as 70-80% of all new mothers may experience the Baby Blues, so this is pretty common. Think raging hormones, little sleep, sore boobs and a body that just birthed a human… so go easy on yourself.
Postpartum Depression is a more severe form of mood disorder experienced by 14% or so of all new mothers (I think a LOT of cases don’t get reported as I personally see it far more common).
The symptoms may occur a few days after birth or even up to a year after birth. Some of the symptoms include fatigue, feeling hopeless or sad, being completely overwhelmed, losing interest or lack of interest in your baby, thoughts of suicide or hurting yourself or your baby. This is not to be taken lightly. If you experience any of these severe symptoms or know someone who is, you need to seek help from a doctor or trusted friend or family member. It's important to remember that you are not alone and that these feelings are temporary - and by seeking help, you are doing the best thing you ever could for yourself and your baby. If you are reading this, relating heavily, let me tell you something. You are NOT, I repeat are NOT a bad mother. You, like women around the world need a little bit of help and thats 100% okay mama.
Postpartum Psychosis is the most severe, yet rare, form of PPD and the symptoms you may experience can range from thoughts of harming yourself and or your baby, to hallucinations, to severe anxiety, delusions and paranoia.
This is a severe psychiatric emergency and usually begins within 1-2 weeks of giving birth, though can have a later onset. This is treatable, but time is of the essence as the symptoms will only get worse without treatment. Although its scary and your mind feels like its got a mind of its very own, there IS treatment and you will get better.
Any and all of these forms of PPD are treatable through counselling, psychiatric evaluation and when necessary, medication. There is no shame in seeking help for yourself. As more and more information and new and innovative treatments emerge, the best thing you can do is get the help you need so you can get back to living life happily and not just mustering through it.
There are things you can do to help yourself get better, and feel better, in those moments. They are outlined below. Even just 10 minutes of self-care is essential to your mental health. It isn't selfish to care for yourself. It's actually one of the best things you could ever do for your baby and other children. Think of it as a form of medication. If you have a headache, you might take an Advil, right? Well, in this case, you need medication in a different form. There is no shame in caring for your mind.
Practice deep breathing and meditation to renew your mind. Youtube a guided breathing or meditation, that can help you to focus.
Have a Good Cry
Sometimes, crying is extremely helpful and it can really enable us to feel worlds better when we're through. So let it go, all of it.
Do Something Nice For You
Paint your nails, have a warm bath, or get your hair done. Do whatever it is that makes you feel like a new woman.
Listen to Happy Music
Put on some of your favorite happy music and sing along.
Call a Friend
Sometimes, it helps just to talk or have someone who can relate. Don’t be afraid of being judged, its likely that every new mother you know has gone through some kind of mental hardship throughout motherhood.
Take a Walk or Work Out
Exercise in any form releases endorphins, the 'feel good' hormones within our brains. Even a 10 minute jog can help you to re-centre your mind.
Have Some Tea and Read a Book
Sometimes, a nice hot cup of tea can truly help us to feel comfort and when you couple that with a feel-good book, chances are likely you will feel renewed and be able to get out of your head a little bit.
If You're Religious, Pray
Read your Bible or Pray. As someone who is not religious myself, I know its not for everyone. But people who have a strong connection to their faith often feel better supported and cared for when they turn to their faith in the hard times.
Seeking help should never make you feel embarrassed or less than others. You should be proud of yourself for taking that first step. It can be scary at first, but once you realize how much help is available and how many people really do care, and want to see you get better, the better off you will be. You are worth it, no matter what lies your brain tries to get you to believe - and your baby thinks you are too. Take care of yourself, mama. You ARE worth it, and we believe in you. My first suggestion is to sit down with your GP, bring a close friend or your partner and let them guide you.
It depends where in the world you are, but here are some resources below:
If you or someone you know is feeling suicidal please call:
USA: The National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit here.
UK: Call 116 123 or have a read here.
You can also visit these various websites for more information, numbers to call and people to chat with. Postpartum Depression Awareness website at www.seeppd.com/patients/what-is-ppd or call 1-800-ppd-moms or visit their website, www.1800ppdmoms.org if in America.
One of my personal favourite resources is the incredible, Beyond Blue team. Click here to hear another womens stories.
Source unknown for this gorgeous picture.