Postpartum Depression

Babies and Moms: Birth and Beyond » Podcast Feed show

Summary: We discuss postpartum depression.  If you think you are not affected,  you might be surprised.  It takes lots of different forms and can last for months and even years and has a medical basis.  Listen and learn. How is Postpartum Depression different than the “Baby Blues”? The Baby Blues refers to generally weepiness, fatigue and worry for the 2-3 weeks following delivery. Postpartum Depression may set in 2 weeks to 2 months after delivery and interferes with your daily life. You may feel sad most of the time, feel like things will never get better, have thoughts of death or suicide (having thoughts of death does not mean that you are suicidal), have trouble sleeping (even when the baby sleeps), have a change in appetite, and generally not feel like yourself.  (However, don’t think that if you don’t have thoughts of death or suicide that you don’t have Postpartum Depression.) If you feel you are experiencing Postpartum Depression, you should seek the help of a doctor to work out a plan for your recovery. The sooner you get help, the faster and better your recovery. Seeking help is not a sign of weakness. It is a step toward taking control and regaining your life! Here is our input on this topic (we are not medical professionals, but mothers who wish to offer our understanding and support to you): PREPARE YOURSELF BEFORE DELIVERY: Read about Postpartum Depression (PPD) and its symptoms before your delivery so you can recognize it for what it is and take steps to prevent it. Even if you haven’t had it in the past doesn’t mean that you won’t have it with another baby. Have realistic expectations. Talk to other mothers about their experiences after having a baby so you can get some realistic expectations of life with a baby. Motherhood is work. You should expect to be tired, and not all of it is “cute.” Give yourself time for recovery. Delivery is a major production! Your hormones will need time to readjust. You will need time to learn breastfeeding. You will need time to work into a routine. Your house will be messy! You will need time to bond with your baby. Some women DON’T bond at first sight. It’s okay. Oh, and did anyone mention the 4-6 weeks of bleeding afterward? You need time! Don’t plan for big projects, traveling, parties. Don’t be in a rush to get back to work, Don’t take on assignments during that time EVEN IF YOU THINK IT WILL BE NO BIG DEAL! If you begin to experience PPD, you won’t want to do them, and you won’t want to cancel the commitment either. Don’t plan to fit into your jeans after 2 weeks! Plan for meals. Your nutrition is important. Preparing healthy meals will not be easy with a baby. Freeze things ahead of time. Invite friends to bring a meal occasionally and stay to eat it with you (or take you out). This will give you a chance to talk, talk, TALK, which is very therapeutic and you won’t have to prepare the meal. Have an agreement for your exercise and downtime. Talk about the importance of you getting time for a walk, time to read a book or time for whatever becomes important to you after the birth. Being alone won’t always be the best thing however, so plan walks together and time with other friends. Tell your friends to stay closeby. You won’t want to feel isolated so stay connected with friends. Because a baby is so much work, you and your husband or mother may “tag team” to take care of her, but this can separate you from your most important chances for communication. Sleep is a major factor–or lack thereof. Plan for someone else to take one of the nighttime feedings so you can sleep, preferable out of your earshot so you really won’t be disturbed. You’ll enter a downward spiral if you go without sleep (Lack of sleep–> irritability, lack of focus–> guilt for behavior–> feelings of inadequacy–> de[...]