Saturday, December 13, 2014

Why Do I Have Post-Partum Depression?

Let me say something most moms won't. Something that may be a little controversial, but this blog isn't for the perfect moms anyways. It's for those of us who admit that this parenting thing is HARD.

A part of you dies when you become a mother.

Before you burn me at the stake, let me add that a part of you comes alive too.

But there is a reality that we (as imperfect moms) need to face.

When we become pregnant, we have these images in our mind of what life will be like with a baby.

Check out this great website for more information on this!
When you can't enjoy motherhood
We think that our life will be complete. That we will have this child that will bring such joy to our lives. That everyone around us will finally accept us and that life will be beautiful.

After your baby is born, you may be asking yourself "why is everyone happy but me?"

...and you know what? That's ok, Mama.

The truth is that this is a reality for many, many new moms. Most of us are just too ashamed to admit it..

When you are handed your baby for the first time, you may not feel an immediate bond. They probably will look like a shriveled alien child. They will probably let out a blood curdling scream (or several).

You may be one of those mothers who feels an immediate bond of unconditional love for your child and recall the birth experience as perfect. Yup, this blog isn't for you ;)

This is for those of us who wonder what's wrong with us when we don't bond right away with their babies, or when they feel their hopes and dreams slipping away into an imperfect reality. For those of us who realize immediately that this new life is not going to be the one we dreamed about.

2011 - I knew right away my expectations were not
going to be my reality!
When you expect this perfect new life, and everything changes - you may need some time to just process what you're going through.

I know, I know, you have a child! Shouldn't you be thankful? Shouldn't you appreciate every little coo, every little yawn, every gas-induced smile? Yes, of course.

But let's not forget the expectations you had before you had that baby. Those expectations need to be laid to rest. They were real, you made a plan, and now this baby has changed everything. Later, you'll realize your life was changed for the better, but right now, you may be feeling depressed, hopeless, terrified, or even angry.

Believe it or not, that's normal - it's call post-partum depression. And it's a reality many of us face, often in silence. I know I did!

I want to be very clear - many moms feel "baby blues". I found this website, which explains the symptoms of baby blues vs. postpartum depression.

Signs and symptoms of depression after childbirth vary, depending on the type of depression. (Below is taken from this website)

"Signs and symptoms of the baby blues — which last only a few days to a week or two — may include:
  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Sadness
  • Irritability
  • Crying
  • Decreased concentration
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Postpartum depression symptoms
Postpartum depression may appear to be the baby blues at first — but the signs and symptoms are more intense and longer lasting, eventually interfering with your ability to care for your baby and handle other daily tasks. Postpartum depression symptoms may include:
  • Loss of appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Intense irritability and anger
  • Overwhelming fatigue
  • Loss of interest in sex
  • Lack of joy in life
  • Feelings of shame, guilt or inadequacy
  • Severe mood swings
  • Difficulty bonding with your baby
  • Withdrawal from family and friends
  • Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby 
Untreated, postpartum depression may last for many months or longer."

See the difference?

The only symptom I didn't have was thoughts of harming my baby. Ever. I knew he needed me, and despite my depression, that's what kept me going. 

The number one thing to remember is that there is NOTHING to be ashamed about if you are suffering from PPD. 

Do NOT be afraid to ask for help. Do NOT deny that there's a problem. And definitely do NOT deny that you may need to grieve the loss of your expectations before that baby came alone.

When I had my little guy, I had this image in my head of me holding him, and him smiling. I would clean the house and he would sit and coo, or nap.

Even when he was first born, I knew things were going to be different. I felt sick, and I knew my life would never be the same.

It is so worth it!! <3
I definitely did NOT have any thoughts of him screaming in pain every day, all throughout the day. I did NOT expect that he would have a rare food disorder. I did NOT expect to feel so helpless, and overwhelmed, and alone. It took me a year, but I finally admitted that life was not what I had thought it was going to be. I had to let go of my expectations and embrace this new life for what it is.

And once that happened, everything changed. I was able to heal. I learned to appreciate the GOOD that he brought into our lives. I learned to snap every picture of every smile he gave me (they were rare), and to focus on being an advocate for him, rather than thinking about what I wanted life to look like.

Moms, when you're tired, and run down, and wondering what went wrong, please take time to look at the good. Because there is good in every situation, even if you feel hopeless.

You have a child (many women are unable to do this). You WILL get through this. This season is not forever, and it will pass, I promise. Seek the help you need. Admit that life is not what you expected. Heal and move forward. And when you see how amazing life is (even if it didn't meet your expectations, you will realize: it is so worth it!!

And most of all, know that you're not alone, Mama. You are enough. And you're doing a great job!

No comments:

Post a Comment