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Postpartum Depression: What You Need To Know

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Postpartum

Postpartum Depression: What You Need To Know

Postpartum Depression, everyone knows about it and acknowledges but doesn’t prepare for it. Here’s what YOU need to know, so you’re better prepared for it. 

 

What is Postpartum Depression (PPD)? 

Postpartum Depression or PPD is defined as episodes of severe mood swings and emotions following the birth of your baby.

It is most often confused with ‘baby blues’, the difference is that baby blues are typically gone with the help and support of a partner, family, and friends. 

 

Hormones In Relation To Postpartum Depression 

Researchers consider hormone changes as the culprit for PPD. Some hormones thought to disrupt this chemical imbalance are estrogen and progesterone.

We all know these are the most important hormones in pregnancy, right?

Estrogen and progesterone rise dramatically and decline just as suddenly postpartum.

According to Harvard Health Publishing, “because these reproductive hormones also interact with neurotransmitter systems that affect mood, this postpartum hormonal crash can cause emotional instability in women whose biology makes them more vulnerable to the changes.”

Now, the other important hormone is… YES, you guessed it. Oxytocin (ideal hormone for birth) this one behaves a little differently than estrogen and progesterone.

Brain researcher Ruth Felman shared “Maternal oxytocin levels—the system responsible for maternal-infant bonding across all mammalian species—dramatically increase during pregnancy and the postpartum [period,] and the more mother is involved in child care, the greater the increase in oxytocin.”

 

For more details on changes in behavior due to motherhood read What Happens to a Woman’s Brain When She Becomes a Mother by

 

Which can help boost those feelings of joy and happiness when you’re around your child. This can also be a very unstable period, between the fluctuating overwhelming sadness and random moments of joy.

 

When Can Postpartum Depression Start?

Anytime after giving birth. Typically within the first 4 weeks. 

 

Can Postpartum Depression Start Later?

Yes, it can happen multiple times as well. I have had it 3 times and it first happened 3 months postpartum.

 

How Do You Know If You Have PPD?

Constant and overwhelming feelings of sadness, anxiety, loneliness, and irritability.

 

Common Symptoms of Postpartum Depression: 

  • An overwhelming feeling of sadness
  • Sleeplessness or sleeping too much
  • No Motivation
  • Appetite, either eating a lot or not at all
  • Extreme irritability ( everything bothers you) 
  • Short Temper 
  • Feeling hopelessness, or guilt about everything.
  • Negative Thoughts 
  • Lack of concentration

 

As someone who is prone to PPD episodes, I can attest that there are particular factors that make us vulnerable.

 

Risk Factors for Postpartum Depression: 

  • Family history of mental illness 
  • Sleep Deprivation 
  • Lack of Support 
  • Stress 
  • Premenstrual Syndrome
  • Anxiety 

For me, the biggest factor was the hours alone and sleepless nights with a very fussy newborn. 

 

Postpartum Depression and Me:

As a mother, PPD was never something I worried about. I knew about it, I researched it. I ‘understood’ how it worked or I thought I did. 

Let me share a little more though. I am and have been a happy and upbeat person. The living embodiment of joy and positivity. I had a smile on my face constantly and not a fake smile either. This smile was a part of me. 

I thought this wouldn’t change, I was wrong. 

During my pregnancy, I was my usual self, just heightened sensibility to emotions. I was more prone to crying from movies, memories, and songs. This also happened when I was on my period so I wasn’t too worried about it. 

Then, I think it may have been 3 to 4 months postpartum that I began to feel sad. I wrote it off as period hormones and ignored it. I launched my blog and focused on it. But my sadness increased and I began to have negative thoughts. 

As a rational person I knew I was, I knew what it was right away but I was in denial. I called my grandmother and we spoke for hours. There was lots of crying, then I spoke to my husband and my mom and I shared my thoughts and emotions.

I was receiving the support and help I needed and it got better. 

Fast forward another 4-6 months and I was regressing back to those feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, very irritable and lack of patience. 

I wanted to go back to work and I did and everything was looking great. In the beginning, I was feeling like my old self. I launched my YouTube Channel and things were looking great. Being away from the house and keeping busy and social was helping. 

You must be wondering why I never sought medical help, well I refuse to get medicated if there’s a natural way to fight this; which there is. 

So I was working and everything seemed to be settling when the COVID-19 Pandemic broke out 2-3 months later. 

In the first week of social isolation, I did fine. Week 2 things began to turn bleak. I was overwhelmed with anxiety and panic attacks. I was upset and sad and just wanted to throw myself off a building. 

The thing about PPD is that it looks different for everyone. This is what I went through in the span of a year. Ups and downs, great moments, and awful moments. All of this we cannot control, we can ride the wave and take the steps in the direction we hope will work and we’ll feel better. 

So then my birthday came along, a month later and it all came crashing down on me. I couldn’t take it anymore, I got in my car and drove to my mom’s, I told her how I was feeling and she was worried and after a long conversation, I got back home. 

Guess what? That talk wasn’t enough. I felt like I was drowning, I felt breathless and caged; I felt so heavy as if I was being crushed. It was unreal, I wanted to run away as I’ve never wanted anything else in my life.

So I changed and put on my running shoes and left. 

The first five minutes I sobbed so hard, it felt like grief. I was grieving myself, I could also breathe for the first time in what felt like forever. 

Now I run 3 to 4 times a week, I call my friends and my family multiple times and we talk for hours. 

I reassess my mental and emotional state every day. I log my feelings, I am now keeping track of myself. My health and my family depends on it. 

PPD is not the end but it may feel that way. I can tell you that it’s hard and that it does get the best of you at times but it is up to you to accept it or work with it. 

I know I’m at risk, I know because I’ve had it 3 times already. It’s a battle that I fight every day and will continue to do so. 

There’s more than one contributing factor that makes me at risk of having PPD. So, I do all the right things for me and my body. 

 

Preventing & Treating PPD

Postpartum Depression prevention may be a lot harder than people of doctors thing, believe me. In some cases impossible, unless you medicate before you even have the symptoms. 

Treatment for Postpartum Depression though, that I can tell you what works best for me and it might work for you too. 

 

Here are 6 Ways To Treat Postpartum Depression (PPD)

1. First and foremost, talk, share and be open. The people around you love you and want to help, let them. Share your thoughts and feelings, sometimes just letting it all out helps a ton. 

2.  Ask, and accept offered help. Have someone watch the baby at least for an hour so you can take a break. I refused to do this and paid for it in heartache and more. Don’t make the same mistakes I made. 

3. Eat well. Limit your junk food and fatty food intake, it’s the worst thing for your body. Try drinking lots of water and eating fresh fruits and vegetables. A great diet makes a whole world of a difference. 

4. Exercise often ( at least 4 days a week). Go on walks, dance, run, do weights. Just get moving. Exercise releases endorphins and helps balance your mood. Also, it regulates sleep and gives you a rush of energy and we ALL need that. 

I recently read an article by Sam Neame that explained how exercise is important for your mental health. It was something I kind of knew but didn’t realize how true that was, not only that but it shared some of the great benefits of working out.

 

Here is a quick read: 4 Reasons Exercise Is More Important For Your Mental Health Than Money.

 

5. Join A Support Group For MOMS, no one knows better than mommas. If it’s local even better but online works too.

6. Seek Treatment, sometimes the holistic approach isn’t enough, and there is nothing wrong with that. We are all different, embrace it, and accept help because you know you need it. 

 

There is no room for pride here, only LOVE, UNDERSTANDING, AND LOADS OF SUPPORT.

 

Stay Healthy, XOXO

 

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Thanks so much for reading!

 

If you have any questions leave a note in the comment section below…

 

All material contained on these pages are free of copyright restrictions and may be copied, reproduced, or duplicated without permission of One Stoked MOM. Citation of the source is appreciated.

 

All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.

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About Author

Génesis is the founder and content creator for One Stoked Mom. A first time SAHM (stay-at-home-mom) who shares her experience through motherhood. When she isn’t caring for her daughter, she enjoys reading romance novels, ‘munching’ on dark chocolate pretzels and drinking a hot cup of coffee... She is currently working on her YouTube Channel, GenesisHere.

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