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A Realization – PPD Round 1

June 4, 2018

{I wrote the following post about postpartum depression last year for another blog that was never published.}

A month after my baby turned one year old I discovered I had postpartum depression. I wondered if late onset PPD was a thing, but the more I thought back over my second daughter’s first year of life I realized I had been suffering for months without knowing. There were many reasons I failed to see the signs earlier, but mostly because my postpartum depression didn’t look like what I thought it was supposed to look like.

According to an article on American Pregnancy (and many other resources), some symptoms of postpartum depression include the following:

  • Fatigue
  • Feeling sad, hopeless, and/or overwhelmed
  • Trouble sleeping and eating
  • Feelings of guilt and worthlessness
  • Losing interest in things you used to enjoy
  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • No interest in your baby
  • Thoughts of hurting yourself or your baby

I never considered postpartum depression as an explanation for my struggles because I had an excellent relationship with my baby. My first was a daddy’s girl, but Luciana was a little koala bear who clung to her mama. I savored every minute with my sweet babe. I didn’t have any “classic symptoms” and my husband’s work situation was extremely stressful at the time. I just assumed I was in survival mode. But as my husband’s job began to stabilize, I found myself wondering when I was going to snap out of it.

One difficult night in January, I lay in bed trying to calm myself down after a furious outburst at my husband for coming home twenty minutes late. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me and why I was so upset over something so small. I prayed and prayed and began doing some research on my phone. Very quickly I realized my view of postpartum depression and its symptoms had been very narrow. The more I read, the more I recognized myself in what I was reading. The symptoms I related to were anger, irritability, inability to concentrate, “sadness to the depths of your soul”, and insomnia (source). I also realized postpartum depression was the source of my social anxiety. PPD seemed to exaggerate all my weaknesses; things I spent years learning to keep in check.

I immediately began a strict vitamin regimen and sought professional help. In my case, medication has not been necessary, but I was prepared to go that route if the vitamins weren’t effective. Knowing the cause and being able to get help has been healing for both myself and my husband who has been a rock throughout this journey.

More and more women, even celebrities including Hayden Panettiere and more recently Chrissy Teigen, have been speaking out about their experiences with postpartum depression. But many women still suffer in silence because they feel ashamed and isolated. According to the American Psychological Association, up to 1 in 7 women have postpartum depression. If you haven’t been feeling like yourself after the birth of your baby, talk to your healthcare provider. You are not alone in this.

(written April 2017)

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