In lieu of mental health awareness month coming to an end, I just want to talk to you about maternal mental health, and 5 signs that you may be experiencing postpartum depression.
Disclaimer: I am NOT a doctor, and I am NOT a mental health professional. I am just here as a support to those who need it. I urge you to seek professional help if you feel that you have postpartum depression.
A lot of you may have already seen me talk a little bit about my experience with postpartum depression (PPD) as I’ve brushed on the topic on Instagram a few times since the beginning of the month. For those that don’t know, I have unfortunately dealt with PPD, and I was one of the ones that didn’t know it.
I never thought it would be possible for me to experience PPD considering what we went through to finally have a healthy baby. I was actually in denial – probably too proud to admit that I was struggling. That may be you, or it may be that you really don’t know if what you’re feeling is actually PPD.
Having a baby can trigger an immense amount of powerful emotions. You may experience everything from contentment and joy, to anxiety, fear, and anger.
Here are a few signs that your emotional struggles may actually be postpartum depression
1. You’re angry all the time.
This was me. I was constantly angry and on edge. At first glance, this might not feel like a symptom of PPD. Usually when we think of PPD, we think baby blues – that is, constant crying, chronic sadness, etc.
What we don’t always realize is that rage can also be a sign of depression. By rage, I mean irrational anger, lashing out, the smallest of things “setting you off,” etc.
Irritability is another big one. that I dealt with a lot during those first few months. It was rough
getting angry with my baby for being. . . well, a baby. Those were not some of my proudest moments, and I have struggled with mom guilt quite often.
2. If you feel like you have more than just the “baby blues,” it’s probably PPD
After the placenta is delivered, your body’s hormone levels experience a sharp decline/drop. Similar to the beginning of pregnancy when your body starts rapidly increasing those pregnancy hormones, the sudden dip can cause mood swings, unexplained emotional sadness, sleep regression, and so on.
But sometimes, what you’re experiencing can be much deeper than surface level sadness. I’m talking overwhelming sadness, excessive crying, feelings of hopelessness, and overall depressed mood.
If this describes you, you’re most likely going through PPD.
I personally did have lots times where I just cried excessively. Anything could set me off, and then I would end up crying about everything on my mind at the time, even if none of those things were the trigger. It felt like a never ending circle of sadness at some points.
Even if you only experience this every now and then, it’s possible you’re still experiencing PPD. For me, these waves of sadness (and even the rage) came and went.
3. You’re having anxiety and panic attacks
Anxiety and panic attacks usually go hand in hand. Both are often accompanied by a sudden onset of intense fear, pounding heartbeat, dizziness, throat and chest tightening, feeling suddenly hot or sweaty, and shortness of breath.
If you are experiencing anxiety or panic attacks, it’s best to seek help as soon as possible.
4. Sudden onset of sleep disorders
Two sleep disorders immediately come to mind – hypersomnia, and insomnia. Hypersomnia is oversleeping/excessive sleeping, and insomnia is the exact opposite – the inability to sleep.
Both of these can have severe effects on your body, both physically and emotionally. These can also contribute to PPD, much like how sleep deprivation does.
Those who experience hypersomnia may feel constantly sleepy, especially during the day, even after getting a full night’s rest. It may feel impossible to get things done around the house without needing an extra pair of hands (or two). You may start to feel further depressed because you feel like you can’t accomplish anything. Having hypersomnia can cause you to be a danger to yourself and your baby as your mind is usually not fully awake, causing increased mistakes and accidents.
Similarly, insomnia, being that it can cause a person to not be able to get the rest they need, can cause a person to not be as mindful as they should be. This leaves room for mistakes and accidents in the same way that hypersomnia does.
5. Difficulty bonding with your baby
This one happens to a lot of moms, and it’s completely normal. You may have some mom guilt because of it, but it’s important not to beat yourself up over it. Sometimes the pain and utter exhaustion from giving birth may prevent you from bonding with your baby. Not feeling bonded to your baby right away is normal. However, when coupled with some of the above symptoms, it can be a sign of PPD.
One thing that can actually help with bonding is breastfeeding, believe it or not. Lots of studies have shown that breastfeeding can help reduce the symptoms of PPD, especially when paired with seeking professional help.
It’s okay to get help.
The important thing to remember is that it is never too late to get help. I regret all the time that I didn’t just get help as I probably could’ve been better much sooner if I had. I will always recommend that if you feel like you need some assistance, to not feel ashamed of seeking help. About 15% of all women who have a baby have experienced PPD, and I am included in that statistic.
Coming Up Next: 5 Tips for Dealing With Postpartum Depression
In my next blog post, I’ll be sharing with you, 5 tips for dealing with PPD, and what I did to help overcome in.
Please note and remember: I am not a doctor, psychologist, or anything of the sort. I’m just sharing with you some signs of PPD to hopefully help you to determine if you should seek out professional help.
Hope you enjoyed this read! Until next time!