Maybe you tried to get pregnant and have a baby for a long time. Or maybe it happened by accident. Or perhaps you went through arduous fertility treatments to finally get pregnant.
Whatever the case, you likely daydreamed about what pregnancy and motherhood would be like. Growing a human life inside your womb is an awe-inspiring miracle like none other. And giving birth to that beautiful child is a life-changing experience.
But you didn’t expect to feel this way.
You have a beautiful baby. You are a new mom. People around you tell you how blessed you are and how you have so much for which to be grateful.
So why do you feel overwhelming sadness? Why do you feel like you’re in a fog? Why do you worry incessantly about harm coming to your baby? Why can’t you bond with them?
This isn’t what you hoped for.
But to you, beautiful postpartum mom, please know you aren’t broken. And you’re not alone. Roughly 600,000 women in the U.S. experience postpartum depression.
Getting PPD Treatment is a Good Idea
Even if you don’t have an official diagnosis and think maybe you’re just sad or worried, it’s never a bad idea to ask for help. Postpartum depression symptoms can actually start while you are pregnant. And sometimes, symptoms aren’t linear as time passes. Some days you may feel okay, while others, you feel horrible.
It’s crucial to understand that not all symptoms of postpartum depression are the same for everyone. So if you’ve Googled “symptoms of PPD” and didn’t exactly relate to what you found, that doesn’t mean you don’t have postpartum depression. And you shouldn’t suffer in silence.
The most common symptoms of PPD include:
- Feeling depressed most days (although you don’t need to feel sad to be suffering from PPD)
- Feeling shame and guilt
- Feeling worried and panicked that something might happen to your baby
- Experiencing significant mood swings
- Losing interest in doing things you typically enjoy
- Changes in sleeping patterns (difficulty sleeping when the baby actually sleeps)
- Difficulty concentrating
- Having difficulty bonding with your baby
- Having suicidal thoughts
Again, you may not experience all of these. But even if you feel like something is “off”, there’s no shame in reaching out for help from a qualified mental health professional.
Having postpartum depression is not your fault. PPD is a serious mental illness that can last for months or even years if left untreated. It’s not your fault. Treatment for postpartum depression is effective and can help.
Do Any of These Reasons for Not Seeking Treatment for Postpartum Depression Hit Home?
Your expectations of the first months of motherhood are dashed thanks to PPD. The easy, free-flowing days of gazing into your newborn’s eyes, filled with love and joy have yet to happen.
But you still don’t get help for postpartum depression. You continue to suffer in silence.
Why? There are several reasons you may choose this over getting treatment for PPD.
- You feel ashamed: If this is you, it’s not surprising. The negative stigma surrounding postpartum depression in our culture is incredibly unfortunate. It pushes the idea that you “should” be spending your days in a peaceful state of happiness with your baby.
You are “supposed” to have all your ducks in a row from day one. After all, you have a baby. You “should” be absolutely infatuated and on cloud nine 24/7, right?
Postpartum depression affects over half a million women in the U.S. every year. And it doesn’t discriminate. Black, white, Asian, Latina, you name it. PPD is everywhere.
You are NOT a failure. You are the unfortunate victim of an unfortunate yet widespread mental illness.
And it absolutely must be addressed.
- You think it’ll “go away”: Up to 80% of women experience the “baby blues” after giving birth. Changing hormones can do that to you; make you feel sad, give you mood swings, and disrupt your sleep.
So you might assume these are fleeting feelings. They’ll go away on their own. “I don’t need to worry about them.” But then time goes by without any relief. You still feel overwhelming sadness day in and day out. You can’t bond with your baby no matter how hard you try. Your irritability and frustration are through the roof.
It’s not going away.
You need help with postpartum depression. It’s not a fleeting thing. It’s serious. And you need help.
- Accessibility to health care: Maybe you don’t have insurance. Or maybe your socioeconomic situation puts you in the position of not even being able to think about getting help for postpartum depression.
ANNOUNCING: Pregnancy and Postpartum Anxiety Support Group
If you don’t have the means to get help, whether that be insurance or money, don’t give up. There is help available for everyone. If this is you, check out Health Resources & Service Administration (HRSA). They’ll help you find a community health center close to you that can help.
And there is always someone to talk to. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is a valuable resource for anyone suffering from PPD.
One of the most important things to realize is that you aren’t alone. There is help available. Not just to people with insurance or lots of money. For everyone.
Related Post: 5 Benefits of Counseling for Postpartum New Mothers
If You’re Suffering in Silence: It’s You We’re Most Worried About
Maybe you have insurance. Maybe you have a great support network.
But you, as a postpartum mom, put on a smile and pretend like everything is okay.
Why? Because what could you possibly have to be “sad” about?
You talk to friends and family like everything is fantastic. There are no red flags.
There are no warning signs. You seem perfectly happy. But instead, you’re suffering in silence.
You. You are the most worrisome of them all. You pretend like everything is okay because you’ve given in to the social stigma of the “happy, everything-is-great” new mom stigma. You’ve struggled with your mental health on and off for months. You’ve thought about asking for help, but shame held you back.
If this sounds like you, seeking PPD treatment is not only wise but necessary. You’re putting yourself in danger by pretending everything is okay. You may even be fooling yourself. But the fact of the matter is untreated postpartum depression can be hazardous to your long-term physical and mental health. It can last for years. And the longer you experience PPD symptoms, the more troubling it becomes.
You and Your Baby Deserve Help for Postpartum Depression
Postpartum depression is very treatable. There’s no need for you to suffer in silence. Whether you’re worried about appearing “weak,” afraid of what others will think, or assume you don’t have access to any help, you’re wrong.
And it’s okay. Like we said before, you’re not alone. Hundreds of thousands of women feel the same way.
But if you could get help for someone you loved, if you could potentially save their life with the proper treatment – wouldn’t you?
You and your baby deserve the same.
Don’t wait to get the help you need. At BOLD Health in San Diego, our qualified team of PPD experts is ready to stand by you and help you walk through this postpartum depression journey. Learn the tools and strategies you need to live a more fulfilling life.
After all, you and your baby deserve it.