No woman can predict the horror that is post-partum depression. Often one day everything is fine and you're putting your baby in their soft baby bedding, and the next moment, you're on the floor crying in a puddle of Spaghetti-o's. Having depression can also be a tough thing to come to terms with, and often denial is the first reaction. But those who experience PPD are certainly not alone - the important part is recognizing the problem and the next most important being to seek help.
Listed below are some warning signs that women with PPD might experience:
- Extreme sadness: People with this degree of sadness often feel hopeless no matter what they accomplish in a day. To them, things will never get better and there's no light at the end of the tunnel.
- Feelings of not wanting your baby: Individuals with post-partum depression tend to be distant towards their babies and delegate the responsibility of taking care of the baby to others. Women that are experiencing this feeling might also be experiencing an extreme amount of guilt for feeling this way. It's important that you have a support system that understands that just because you may feel this way right now, that doesn't mean that it's really true. It's simply the emotions from the depression getting in the way of rationality.
- Anxiety: Some mothers suffering from post-partum depression can suffer from extreme panic attacks.
- Sleep deprivation: This happens with any parent, but often sleep deprivation in PPD stems from anxiety. Even when the baby is sleeping, the anxious mother cannot sleep.
- Resentment: Some women may feel resentment towards other mothers not experiencing PPD or even their husbands, who has a life with the child without having to deal with PPD.
- Feelings of doom: some women with PPD often think the worst of what will happen. Sometimes this can be a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Fortunately, there are things that women can do to reduce the likelihood that PPD will hit.
- Know Your Triggers: Know your genetic history - if someone in your family struggled with PPD, most likely you will too. Talk to your friends or doctor about any pregnancy concerns. Don't hold it all in. Know what your triggers are and avoid them if at all possible.
- Involve Your Partner: Talk to your partner about how he can help - support from a mate can reduce the risk of post-partum depression. Take turns with doing activities like changing on the changing table.
- Develop a Routine: When you have less decisions to make, you tend to have lower incidences of depression. Rituals tend to bring comfort.
- Self Care: Meeting your basic needs in incredibly important to your well-being. Get enough sleep, exercise and "me" time.
It's important while going through post-partum depression that you remember that you are not alone - there's always support...through either family members or some support organization. Do not do anything that would harm your baby: there's always help and there's always hope.