On the sixth day of Dismissmas,
Postpartum sent to me
Six women a-denying,
Five hours of sleep,
Four Just Snap out of Its,
Three perfect babies,
Two depressed parents,
And a wailing mess in a pear tree.
Not many Childbirth Educators talk about Postpartum Depression during Childbirth classes. (A big thank you to those of you who DO and do take the time to go in depth with it) It’s often glossed over as something that will happen to someone else.
When it does happen, many mothers start out denying their symptoms. Sure, motherhood is hard. The lack of sleep, the crying babies, and the impossible learning curve can all take their toll. So how do you move past denial and into reaching out for help? And how do you tell Postpartum Mood Disorder Symptoms from typical new motherhood issues?
It’s not easy.
Here’s a quick run-down of things to look for that may signal something more serious is going on beyond normal new motherhood struggles:
- Is mom eating?
- How is she eating? A Lot, a little, just right?
- Is mom eating healthy foods? (excessive sugar & caffeine can contribute to mood difficulties)
- Has she rapidly gained/lost weight without explanation? (make sure Mom gets a thyroid screen)
- Does Mom sleep when baby does?
- When Mom goes to sleep does she fall asleep right away or is struggling to get to sleep or unable to stay asleep?
- Does she awake refreshed or is she still fatigued?
- Is Mom acting like herself?
- Do things seem out of order?
- Is mom showering or taking care of personal hygiene?
- Is it hard for Mom to make a decision?
- Has Mom been crying for no apparent reason?
- Does Mom seem anxious?
- Is Mom bonding with baby?
Denial will get you nowhere fast. It’s a dangerous and swift flowing river leading bad places.
Reach out for help. Start out with a physician with whom you are comfortable talking about your mental well-being. If he or she dismisses your concerns, talk to another doctor until someone listens to you. I know it is hard. I know when you are in that deep dark place the last thing you want to do is reach out, reach out again and again. I know you are not in the mood to explain your story to yet another receptionist or doctor. But every time you do, you are one tiny step closer to healing. One step closer to recovery. One step closer.
You can do it. You are not alone in this at all. There are so many mothers who have been where you are and they are standing with their hands outstretched toward you. Waiting to grasp your hand and pull you up. Don’t forget to reach for them too when you are reaching for help from professionals. You won’t regret it, I promise.
Survivors of Postpartum Mood Disorders are some of the strongest damned women I know – trust me, you WANT them holding you up!