When I got pregnant, I had no idea what Post-Partum depression was. I was well aware of depression because I had been dealing with it my entire life. After Grace was born, my depression seemed to become more intense. I spent the first 6-8 months at home. I felt lucky to spend every day with Grace but at the same time, I felt alone. It was odd. Here I was with my beautiful newborn, and I’m constantly crying. I felt like I wasn’t a good mom. As if I couldn’t do anything right. I never went to therapy or the doctor for it. “Baby Blues” doesn’t even begin to describe the sadness I was feeling.
I started noticing the sadness when Grace was a few weeks old. I was crying at everything. I started getting these feelings of shame. There were thoughts that I would never be a good mother. They debilitated me. I never went to the doctor for it, I started self-medicating instead. My life back then was reckless. I didn’t care for myself and was hyper-focused on everyone else. I began bartending, and that was when the late nights started. I’ve always tended to self-destruct and working those hours every night contributed to my behavior. My depression after Grace lasted until I got on medication almost 2 years later. I know the drugs exasperated my Mental Illness. There’s so much we don’t understand when it comes to Mental Health. I had no idea about Post-Partum until after the fact. If I would have been educated more on the topic, I think things would have been different.
Usually called the “Baby Blues”, Post-Partum usually begins a few days after birth and lasts a few weeks. It’s characterized by crying spells, mood swings, distress/anxiety, and difficulty sleeping. Some women may experience a more severe version of Post-Partum that lasts longer. It’s important to know that it’s not anyone’s fault. It does not make you weak.
Symptoms of Post-Partum Depression:
- Extreme mood swings
- Excessive crying
- Overwhelmed fatigue
- Scared you aren’t a good mother
- Panic attacks
- Thoughts of harming yourself
It doesn’t go away on its own, and up to 1 in 7 women experience it.
- Previous history of depression/anxiety
- Family history of depression and Mental Illness
- The stress of being a new mother
- 1st time/Young motherhood/Older motherhood
- Isolation or lack of support
- Hormone changes
My mistake was that I didn’t want to admit to anyone that I was struggling, but they noticed anyways. There were times Sam walked into a room where I was sobbing. There was a sadness inside of me that I didn’t understand. I should have never faced it alone, but I’ve been so used to dealing with shit internally. That’s just how I’ve always been. I’m not one to put my shit on other people, it makes me feel like a burden.
Things to remember if you think you are dealing with Post-Partum Depression:
- Don’t face it alone, find someone you can confide in.
- Learn how to openly talk about how you are feeling.
- Sleep when the baby sleeps. Make sure you are getting your rest as well. Being a new mom can be rough, get your me time when you can.
- Find a support system…someone who can help you with the baby when you need it.
- Be realistic. Understand what you can do at this time, and accept the things you can’t do.
- Exercise when you can.
Eighty percent of all women recover from Post-Partum Depression, but not all of them do. Nearly half of all women get diagnosed with PPD…that’s 600,00 people every year.
Post-Partum Depression Suicide Rates
- More than sixty percent of women who committed suicide didn’t go to a professional in the months leading up to their death.
- Suicide attempts before and after giving birth have tripled during the past decade
PPD is real, and it can severely harm those who don’t attempt to seek professional help. After I had Grace, it took me a quite awhile to get back into my psychiatrist’s office. I’m not sure I ever got better…considering I am now diagnosed with Bipolar Type 1. I wanted to cover this topic because everyone and their Mom are getting married. Everyone are having babies now. I thought that maybe I could show some insight. I want to help the new mothers who might not understand what is going on inside. I can’t have any more kids. That was my choice, but I know how PPD makes you feel. No one deserves to go through it without some sort of awareness of what it is. I love scrolling through Facebook and watching the people I grew up with starting families. Brooke and Shelby and Georgie…it makes me so happy to see their happiness and where their lives have gone. I love how much everyone has grown. I love how amazing becoming a mother was to me. I love how amazing it is that I am still here (writing) sharing things with all of you. This blog has reached people in many different countries. I am so proud of myself and everyone who is going through things they can’t understand. Life may be hard, but it is worth living.