Having a baby changes your whole world. It can be a time of joy, but it can also be full of variables you may not have expected. New parents can feel very isolated and have trouble adjusting to the recent changes in everyday life. While getting the baby blues is very common, postpartum depression is a condition you shouldn’t ignore.
When understanding postpartum depression, it’s essential to consider that it negatively impacts your ability to return to everyday life and your relationship with your infant. You should also understand that it’s not an uncommon mental health concern, with about 1 in 7 women experiencing the condition.
While it’s relatively common, many new parents stay silent and undiagnosed due to the myths about postpartum depression and negative mental health stigma. So let’s dive into these myths and reveal the truth.
Myth #1: Postpartum Depression Sets in Right After Birth
Truth: PPD can occur any time during the first year after giving birth. Symptoms can also begin during pregnancy.
One of the most common myths about postpartum depression relates to when it typically occurs. While it’s common for PPD to set in during pregnancy or within the first six weeks after delivery, that’s not always the case. You may encounter late-onset postpartum depression up to one year after the delivery of your child. The time it takes for symptoms to begin varies from person to person.
Speaking up about how you truly feel when you notice PPD symptoms is critical. As many as half of postpartum depression in new parents goes undiagnosed due to several factors. You may feel shame or not want to disclose the information to close family members. You could fear the stigma surrounding mental health concerns and worry you’d be judged as “unfit” to care for your child. That’s why it’s essential to clarify the myths about postpartum depression to ensure you get the treatment you need when you need it.
Myth #2: Women with PPD Cry All the Time
Truth: Postpartum depression is not all about tears.
As with any medical diagnosis, symptoms of postpartum depression vary from person to person. Of course, you may cry a lot, but you may also experience other symptoms.
You may feel more angry and irritable due to the stress of caring for your baby. This stress may lead to impatience and frustration, making it even more challenging to deal with the stress. Or you may feel anxious that you’ll harm your child, and anxiety often fuels depression.
Other common symptoms include mood fluctuations that negatively impact your ability to bond with your baby, low self-esteem, difficulty concentrating, and changes in sleeping patterns.
Myth #3: If You Have PPD, You’re a Bad Parent
Truth: Your parenting skill set has nothing to do with a postpartum depression diagnosis.
Postpartum depression can hit any well-rounded, healthy individual. This is a medical diagnosis, and no indication of how you will parent. PPD is a depressive state linked to chemical and hormonal imbalances and doesn’t discriminate. The most dedicated and virtuous of parents can experience PPD.
While many, if not all, of the causes for postpartum depression are out of your control. Infant and mother bonding could be affected during this time due to mood fluctuations and the necessary actions you may need to take to improve your mental health. But when understanding postpartum depression, you must know that having PPD doesn’t make you a bad mother. You should also understand that there is plenty of time for attachment when you finally feel relief from your PPD.
Myth #4: Women With PPD Harm Their Babies
Truth: Women with postpartum depression don’t typically hurt their babies.
One of the most unfortunate myths about postpartum depression is the misconception that all women with PPD hurt their babies. This isn’t true. Postpartum depression is often confused with another condition called postpartum psychosis.
When you have postpartum psychosis, you lose touch with reality, have hallucinations, and endure complete behavioral changes. Mothers may harm their babies during this disorientation because they are so dangerously delusional. This condition is rare and requires a hospital stay and medication for treatment.
If you have postpartum depression, you may have suicidal thoughts or perhaps even intrusive thoughts about something terrible happening to your baby. But that doesn’t mean you’re going to act on them. However, it does mean that you should get help as soon as possible.
Myth #5: Postpartum Depression will Go Away on its Own
Truth: PPD is a diagnosable mental illness that will not go away without treatment.
Many women who experience PPD may try to “muscle through” and wait for it to go away on its own. But that can be extremely dangerous.
Left untreated, PPD can last for several years. The myths about postpartum depression and the stigma around mental health concerns could contribute to your lack of seeking professional help.
We understand caring for a newborn and dealing with postpartum depression simultaneously is exceptionally challenging. And many new parents often put their own needs last when caring for their baby. But understanding postpartum depression means understanding how crucial it is to get help.
Seeking professional treatment for postpartum depression can give you and your baby a secure attachment and allow you to experience life as a new mom or dad joyfully.
Myth #6: Only Women Experience Postpartum Depression
Truth: Both partners can experience the signs and symptoms of postpartum depression.
Approximately 1 in 10 partners will be diagnosed with PPD. As with postpartum depression in new mothers, Partner PPD can last for a year or longer. Thankfully, many healthcare providers now include partners in the postpartum screening during follow-up visits.
Fathers or partners are actually at a higher risk for PPD if their partner suffers from it. They might feel more pressure to pick up the slack or be overwhelmed by the life changes and the changes in their partner’s mental health. Or they may carry more of the workload caring for mom and baby and feel left out of the bonding period with their infant.
Get the Best Postpartum Depression Treatment in San Diego
You want to enjoy this time in your life with your new little one and not feel sad, anxious, irritable, and plagued by intrusive thoughts. Having postpartum depression is not your fault, and it’s not something you should feel guilty about. And it’s 100% treatable, so why not reach out and get the help you need today?
AT BOLD Health, our team of clinicians understands what you’re going through, and we know how to help. During your initial consultation, we’ll spend time getting to know you so we can not only help relieve your symptoms but also understand why you feel them to begin with.
Our postpartum depression treatment options in San Diego aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Your PPD treatment plan is tailored to your individual needs and customized to your schedule. Your treatment plan could include one or more of the following at BOLD, Health:
- individual therapy
- group therapy
- medication management
- intensive outpatient program (IOP in San Diego)
No matter how much help you need, from individual therapy to our IOP in San Diego, or how long it takes, we’ll walk beside you every step of the way. We want you to feel happy, fulfilled, and joyful with your new little family. And with our help, we’ll get you feeling that way sooner rather than later.