Postpartum depression is a serious mental illness in moms. 1 in 9 moms suffer from postpartum depression or anxiety. I’m sharing my story.
Did you know that 1 in 9 moms in the U.S. suffer from postpartum depression? Mental health of moms is something that most people don’t take seriously enough. As moms we’re expected to function at full capacity all the time even after giving birth. We’re told that giving birth to a baby is the happiest time of our lives. We have so many expectations and are responsible for finding work life balance right after giving birth.
After having Trevor that was hard for me. I couldn’t just jump back into things. I was recovering from an unexpected c-section and an extended hospital stay while my baby was in the NICU. The first few weeks were really rough for me. Nearly everything in my life was out of my control. I was stuck in a hospital bed and so was my son. Not only were those weeks overwhelming but my family literally wasn’t able to be together and that was hard.
Once we were home I knew something was off. I was still recovering and so happy to be home but my mood was very different than someone who was happy. I just felt like I was repeating the same motions over and over. It seemed like I was functioning on autopilot and not really experiencing any emotions or joy that came with having a new baby at home.
It’s crazy to me that as moms this is something that we go through. Whether it’s “baby blues” or full blown postpartum depression, it’s more common than you may think and you are not alone.
What is postpartum depression?
Postpartum depression is a serious mental illness in moms that affects your behavior and physical health. Most women may experience the “baby blues” which is a form of sadness or emptiness after having a baby. Other moms experience something much more severe: postpartum depression.
Signs and Symptoms of Postpartum Depression
There are so many signs of postpartum depression. My symptoms were minimal but they were definitely there. As the days went by I was so sad. The feeling of being completely empty is something that is surreal and hard to explain. At times I would just get sad out of nowhere and the random crying always blew my mind. These were the symptoms I experienced but I know that so many moms out there experience more severe symptoms and have a really hard time coping with their symptoms.
I’ll be honest, it isn’t easy. You’re focusing on caring for your family and new baby while you can barely keep it together yourself. It’s something that seems virtually impossible.
Some of the symptoms to look out for are:
- Having no energy or motivation
- Eating too little or not enough
- Feeling disconnected from your baby and family
- Mood swings/changes
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Having trouble remembering things
- Losing interest in things you enjoy
I had postpartum anxiety too.
I bet you didn’t know that postpartum anxiety was a thing. I didn’t know it was a thing until after having Trevor. I’ve been dealing with anxiety for a few years now and it has always been well managed but something about those pregnancy hormones really threw my body off. I think going through losing a child made my anxiety even worse. I had so many thoughts of “what ifs” racing through my head every moment which can leave you on edge as a mom.
Recognizing the signs of postpartum anxiety early on is super important and beneficial to healing. Some of the signs for me were constantly checking to see if Trevor was breathing, not being able to let him sleep without his Owlet sock monitor, losing sleep, and a racing heartbeat.
As Trevor got older, my symptoms were easier to manage and some even started to go away.
How I Managed
It wasn’t easy. I couldn’t have gotten through this 4th trimester without some help. Since Tristan passed away I have been seeing a therapist faithfully. She’s become somewhat of a life coach for me and a neutral third party when I need to solve big problems.
Without her, my husband and Tatiana I couldn’t have gotten through this season of my life. I’ll be honest. It was hard getting through this and some days I didn’t think I would be happy again. What I learned though was that the human body is an amazing thing, and if you’re willing to give yourself grace and do the work than you can overcome postpartum depression and anxiety. I had to learn that having postpartum depression wasn’t my fault at all. Your hormones after giving birth are all over the place and until your body balances that out, learning how to manage your symptoms is all you can do.
I took it minute by minute to get through my depression. Not getting ahead of myself and taking on too much at once was a huge help.
It took me 10 months. They were really long, hard months. While I know how difficult this season was both on myself and my family, I’m grateful for it. It taught me a lot about my strengths and weaknesses, and taught me when to ask for help.
If you feel like you’re experiencing baby blues, postpartum depression or postpartum anxiety talk to your doctor or a mental health professional. You can get through it but not alone.