So I want to talk about something that I believe doesn't get mentioned enough: postpartum depression. If you currently or previously struggle with postpartum depression, anxiety, OCD or paranoia, please know you are not alone and it says absolutely nothing about you as a mother or a woman. No one seems to know exactly why some women suffer from PPD and PPA, but it is likely a result of a combination of physical and emotional factors as well as the huge drop in estrogen and progesterone after childbirth. Whatever the cause, it is not a result of something the mother did, or didn't do.
Symptoms include but not limited to:
Crying more often than normal or for seemingly no apparent reason
Excessive worry about the safety of your baby.
Feeling, moody, irritable, restless
Little interest in previously enjoyed activities
Oversleeping- or not being able to sleep despite feeling exhausted
Physical aches and pains
Thoughts of harming self or baby
I personally was crippled by postpartum anxiety after my first child was born. I had struggled with infertility, and after spending all of our savings on creating this beautiful baby; I was ashamed of my thoughts postpartum that I had made a huge mistake in becoming a mother. What's more is that I had worked in mental health my whole life so I should know how to get out of all this right? Not so much, postpartum disorders don't care who you are, what you do, how you got pregnant or the color of you skin.
So what helped?
1. TALK ABOUT IT!
Talk to your partner, your mom, your sister, your BFF, your mother in law. Please don't feel ashamed or too proud to ask for help. Talk to a therapist. I did. There are resources out there as well. I had a great experience with the Healthy Expectations Program out of Children's Hospital Colorado, but there are others as well. And if medication is the route you need to go, no shame in that.
No, I am not going to Tom Cruise you and pretend that exercise will cure postpartum depression. But I absolutely believe it can help. Find something you enjoy and will be motivated to go back to. Bonus points if you find a program that lets you be social or a friend to hold you accountable. I started Fit4mom after having my first child- not only do I get a great workout but I have built a community with some amazing women along the way.
This is so important for mama and baby. EVERYONE, is more irritable, less focused, and more emotional when sleep deprived. If you are facing postpartum depression and anxiety, sleep deprivation amplifies your symptoms. Again, ask for help. Get your partner more involved, ask your mom or MIL to come over for a sleep over once a week to give you a break. Or call me, and I'll get your little one on track.