Postpartum depression also known as PPD is the most common medical condition of childbirth. Though not all are impacted by postpartum depression, people that do suffer from the condition report feelings of being sad, moody, and tired. PPD is estimated to affect 10-20% of women in the weeks following childbirth. The symptoms can start occurring during pregnancy and last up to a year after birth. It is estimated that at least half the cases of PPD go undiagnosed. Mothers with PPD may feel shame, embarrassment, and question their skills of being a mother.
If you are having the feelings mentioned about, it’s important to talk to your doctor. There are things that can be done to help you. Your doctor will first determine whether you are suffering from postpartum depression or another condition. Bipolar disorder and postpartum psychosis are other conditions that have similar symptoms. Hypothyroidism also can cause depression like feelings. A simple blood test will check your levels to see if your thyroid is producing the correct amount of hormones.
Things You Can Do to Help with PPD:
Exercise. Moving around to get the blood pumping will do wonders for your PPD feelings. Exercise produces chemicals in your body that will counteract feelings of depression. Exercise has been called the greatest antidepressant around.
Create time for yourself. Your new baby will be taking up a lot of your time. By making time for yourself if even briefly when your child naps, will help to fight PPD. If getting away is not possible at this time, then schedule in a bubble bath when baby naps instead of that quick shower you’ve been taking.
Get enough sleep. Not sleeping enough will make your PPD worse. Even people who have never given birth can have feelings of depression and irritability when they are sleep deprived. Make it a priority to schedule in enough sleep. If your baby isn’t yet sleeping through the night, then try to take naps when your baby naps.
Improve your Nutrition. What you eat can affect how you feel. Make sure you are eating healthy and from all the food groups. Too much sugar or caffeine can have a negative effect on your moods.
Things Not To Say to Someone with PPD:
Women have been having babies since the beginning of time. You’ll get through this just fine.
What’s the matter with you? You should be happy. Just look at your beautiful baby.
You are hurting your baby by acting like this. Snap out of it.
I never had postpartum depression. It’s just a term they use nowadays, but it never used to exist.
You have a wonderful husband, new baby, and very supportive family. Try not to be so selfish.
Postpartum Depression doesn’t exist in other cultures. It’s only a condition of spoiled women in the United States.
You don’t look so well.
Just go and have a good cry and you’ll feel much better.
Keep yourself busy, and you won’t have time to think about yourself so much.
Try chocolate. That cures everything for me.
Things to Say to Someone with PPD:
You got this. You are going to get better, and you will be ok soon.
You are a good mom. Don’t doubt yourself so much.
I’m here for you if you need to talk. How can I help? Would you like me to watch the baby while you take a nap or run to the store?
You are not alone. A lot of women go through this and have gotten through PPD. You will too.
You are brave for speaking out and sharing this with me. A lot of women are afraid to talk about it.
I care about you and want to help.
Interesting Facts about PPD:
PPD can run in the family. If women before you had it, your chances are greater of having PPD.
PPD can affect your memory. It may be harder to recall events when suffering from this disorder.
Women with PPD may worry excessively about harming themselves and their baby.
Self-esteem may be at an all time low when PPD is in full swing.
Appetite is often affected by PPD. Women who suffer from it may eat more or lose their appetite.
I hope that this advice can help you or someone you love who is struggling with PPD. Don’t give up; you can do this!