The topic of postpartum depression and anxiety has gotten quite a bit more attention recently than it ever has before. It is something that should be talked about and acknowledged because it is very real, and women need to know that bringing it up is not taboo or embarrassing! This is my story and experience with it. I share solely to hopefully provide the support or push that another mother might need to find her way through! *This is the fifth post in this series: first post, second post, third post, fourth post.*
So what exactly do I want you to take away from these posts? To sum it up quickly; a little kick in the butt, a lot of courage, and a lot more hope! A kick in the butt because if you are feeling these things and you aren't doing anything to help yourself, something needs to change. Courage because I know how scary and defeating it can feel to accept that something isn't right and that you are going to need to go outside of your usual comfort zone to fix it. Hope because I need you to know that things can get so so much better! You do not have to settle and carry on struggling to function as what seems to be something that isn't really you.
Here are a few tips I have for you:
Decide who your accountability partner is going to be right now. Talk to them often about the topic and how you want to deal with it. Whether it is a spouse or significant other, a parent, some best friends, a therapist, etc. You need someone that is going to call you to the carpet if things are getting bad and you aren't seeing or accepting it.
Find a supportive doctor or health professional. If you have talked about PPD or PPA with your doctor and your concerns weren't taken seriously, find a provider that does take it seriously. I can tell you right now that if my doctor had not been so helpful and understanding about what I was going through I would have felt shamed and would have carried on without getting the help I so badly needed.
Be open to your treatment options. If you remember, taking the first anti-depressant pill seemed so scary to me. I think some of that came from the taboo or negative air around taking medications. Of course, I don't think you should take pills just because they are out there and precautions should always be had. BUT, if you need a medication and you have been cleared by your health professional to take that medication, don't you dare let someone's lifted eyebrow or skeptical tone keep you from doing so.
Trust your gut. Yes, there are baby blues and a lot of tired days adjusting to having a new baby around. There are also things called common sense and personal intuition. If you know that something is wrong with you but aren't getting help because your feelings are being downplayed or brushed off by someone around you...you better start brushing off those downplayers and get some help! I had two people very close to me make me feel really stupid when I opened up to them about my struggles after having my first baby. It messed with me guys! I felt dumb and dramatic for days. I let it get to me so badly that I had some serious self-doubt for a while. Luckily, my husband (my accountability partner) pulled me out of the hole and helped me shake off the comments.
"[Postpartum depression] is a severe form of clinical depression related to pregnancy and childbirth. It's more common than you think. One study of 10,000 moms with newborns found that about 1 in 7 get postpartum depression." - WebMD*
See that?? It is severe clinical depression, and 1 in 7 women get it. It should not be taken lightly!! What I wish for you is that you can be well! Being a mother is taxing enough without trying to manage unmanageable clinical depression completely alone. I got help and I will never stop being grateful that I did. I almost get emotional whenever I think about it because I just don't want anyone to be stuck in that dark, dark place. You are worth it! You are worthy of and allowed to need help!!
Does any of that sound familiar to you? Have you (or the person you are thinking of) acknowledged the gravity of the situation? I truly think that I didn’t acknowledge what was going on partially because I wasn’t educated enough about PPD and PPA, and it wasn’t talked about a whole lot three years ago. It is amazing to me how much more awareness is out there now than just three short years ago, such needed awareness! Mamas need help and mamas need to feel safe and unashamed when they seek help!
*Go Here for a great credible and reputable source for information on this topic
Written by: Alyssa Liston