Postpartum depression (PPD) is real and it manifests itself in many different ways. Moms who have spent time in the NICU are 40% more likely to suffer from PPD. It affects many women, however, it doesn’t look the same for all of us. You won’t always be able to point to a mom living with PPD; she won’t always look like she is carrying the weight of childbirth on her back.
She won’t always look sad.
She won’t always look disheveled.
She won’t always look depressed.
She might be smiling on the outside, but fighting for her life inside.
You don’t hear her cries. Her screams. Her criticisms. You can’t hear her (negative) self talk. You can’t feel what she’s feeling. You can’t make her stop feeling things. You can’t fix her.
Some new moms develop postpartum depression, and it doesn’t always stem from traumatic birth experiences. Moms who have had uneventful pregnancies and births have still developed some form of PPD. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never suffered from mental illness before. It doesn’t matter if you had the most perfect pregnancy and birthing experience. It won’t matter if you delivered vaginally or by cesarean section. These things alone will not determine whether or not you will experience PPD. **Having said that, if you’ve experienced any of the above, you may be at an increased risk.
PPD won’t always show its face right away.
It may show up 6 months postpartum. 3 days after delivery I began exhibiting signs of postpartum anxiety.
If you are feeling less than your usual self anytime during that 1st year of child birth, it’s really important that you talk to someone. If you are in fact dealing with PPD, this isn’t something you can just shake off. Despite what many people feel, this isn’t something you can just pray away.
We know you mean well, but if you know someone in the throws of PPD please don’t let prayer be your only suggestion. If you don’t have anything to offer (don’t feel bad, many people don’t), be an ear, a shoulder, and a friend. But don’t be the person who says “why don’t you just pray more?”
Someone struggling with PPD (or any other form of depression) may feel like God has turned His back or isn’t listening. They may be questioning their relationship with God, so while you’re trying to help, you may be doing the exact opposite. Tread carefully.
You are welcome to keep your friend in your prayers. I encourage this.
Since I have started talking about my own battle with PPD, I have been asked all types of questions, most people mean well and genuinely don’t understand how or why PPD happens. I don’t have
all any of the answers, but I do know that you don’t and should not have to suffer in silence.
Why aren’t more women/moms speaking about this? Many women don’t speak up about this for so many reasons. Sometimes we don’t recognize we’ve had PPD until after the fact. After a diagnoses things can become a little more clearer. Shame is also a reason many haven’t spoken up. Either their own personal shame, or shame they receive from elsewhere stops them from speaking. I’ve read comments, I have been told what is and isn’t PPD by people who honestly don’t know the first thing about it. It’s no surprise that many women choose to keep quiet about their pain and lived experiences.
What PPD is not: PPD is not the baby blues. It’s not something that lasts a day or 2. Or even a week. Also, PPD is not just you being hormonal. Don’t let anyone reduce your experience to to their own limited knowledge and understanding.
What are some symptoms of PPD: Sadness, emptiness, feeling overwhelmed and crying a lot. You may find yourself crying and have no idea why. Constant worrying and overly anxious. Restlessness. Irritability. Bouts of rage and anger. Loss of appetite. Increased appetite – overeating. Harmful thoughts. Paranoia. Withdrawn. Avoidance. Unable to bond with your baby. These are just some of the symptoms, if you
How do I know if I have PPD? If you are experiencing any number of the above symptoms (or any other symptoms) please contact your doctor right away.
I have some symptoms, but not all apply: Again, please contact your doctor immediately. You may not be experiencing all of the symptoms, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t suffering from PPD. The best thing you can do for yourself is to let your physician know how and what you are feeling.
Why won’t they pray it away? This again? Praying is great, I encourage an active prayer life (if that’s your thing). Prayer shouldn’t be our only medium. God has gifted many of us with the ability to teach, counsel, etc. He won’t feel betrayed if you decided to go to therapy. It’s not an insult to God. He desires His children be whole and complete in Him.
I have bad and off days too, why can’t they just deal with it and move on?! PPD is not just a bad or an off day. You have off days and you are able to move forward. You are more than likely able to recognize and fix what was wrong. Women who are living though PPD aren’t afforded this. Most times, we have no idea we have PPD. We can’t point to one specifics thing that went wrong and caused us to feel the way we do. We aren’t just having a bad day. Women with PPD are suffering from a chemical imbalance that results in mood disorder. This usually lasts from 2 weeks to any number of years if left untreated.
Get The Facts.
Current Posts in the series “For NICU Moms Who Have Considered Giving Up..” are available below.