Kacee Tannenbaum, LCSW
What is Postpartum Depression?
If you are reading this more than likely you are interested in Postpartum Depression. Maybe you’ve just had a baby, are pregnant, or know someone you are concerned about. Postpartum Depression is not an easy subject to discuss. Unfortunately, this subject does not get the attention it deserves or the awareness it demands.
My hope is that after reading this article you feel empowered to get help or to help someone that may be suffering from Postpartum Depression. You see my goal is to reduce the stigma associated with this illness. Because postpartum depression is totally treatable and getting help can save lives. Some may say I’m being a little dramatic, but read on and decide for yourself.
Here is a story of a woman who experienced Postpartum Depression:
I had the perfect birth and I was so in love with my baby. For the first 5 weeks after my baby was born, I felt proud of how well everything was going. Although I was worn down by night after night of interrupted sleep, I enjoyed my baby and wanted my 3 month maternity leave to last forever. One night instead of collapsing into sleep the minute my baby went down for the four-hour stretch of what I called “night”, I couldn’t fall asleep for 2 hours! The next night it was three hours, then four. Those feelings of worry and dread overcame me. This spilled over into not only worrying about sleeping, but worrying about everything. I cried at the drop of a hat and the feeling of sadness slowly consumed me. I stopped eating. I stopped smiling. I stopped socializing. I stopped being me.
Does this story sound familiar to you? You could be this mom; anyone of us could. I’m here to tell you that it’s okay.
So, what is Postpartum Depression? Postpartum Depression occurs in about 1 in 7 women after childbirth. The biggest risk factors for developing Postpartum Depression is having a history of depression or psychological factors like conflict with a partner, poor social support, and ongoing stressful life events such as moving or starting a new job.
You probably all know the expected mom who sells their house and moves, gets a new puppy, and decides to remodel the kitchen at 8 months pregnant. But oftentimes what you don’t realize is how overwhelming having a new baby is and how much support you truly need. Women have been having babies since the beginning of time, how hard can it be, right? Well, not only is having children one of the most wonderful times in a mother’s life, it is also one of the hardest. More often than not, you are too ashamed or afraid to ask for help when you need it.
A study looking at 6,000 women found that moms with minimal social support were 5 times more likely to experience postpartum depression. While it is not new information to anyone that mothers are sleep deprived, research suggests poor sleep is also a risk factor for depression and depression contributes to sleep issues.
Women with postpartum depression experience less effective sleep and more daytime fatigue than women without postpartum depression. Infants with sleeping problems and maternal fatigue are associated with postpartum depression.
The symptoms of postpartum depression last longer than the “baby blues” and are more severe. These symptoms include but are not limited to:
● low mood or depressed mood, sadness and excessive crying
● loss of interest or pleasure in doing things
● agitation and irritability, anxiety and constant worry
● difficulty concentrating, disturbances in appetite and/or sleep, loss of energy
● feelings of guilt, shame, or hopelessness
● possible thoughts of harming yourself or your baby.
Someone suffering from depression may experience some or all of these symptoms.
Women are vulnerable to postpartum depression up to one-year following delivery. New mothers who find themselves overwhelmed, frustrated, anxious, or depressed should not be silent or ashamed. You should know that you are not alone and help is available. Getting help does not mean you don’t love your baby. It does not mean you are not a good mother. It does not mean you are a failure.
You, as a parent, do not know everything and cannot do everything. Sometimes your emotions feel out of control and life feels impossible. The sooner you can recognize symptoms of postpartum depression and get the help you need the sooner you can enjoy your new baby.
Please give me a call for your free consultation at 954-391-5305. You are not alone, you are not to blame, and with my help, you will be well.