Today we are going to discuss a topic that affects nearly 70 to 80% of women after the birth of their baby and can last months even years after the baby is born. Postpartum Depression (PPD) was first studied and treated starting in the 1980s and has often been a taboo subject that many women hid, or refused to admit to themselves, or others, that they were suffering from it.
PPD can happen to any woman, and admitting you have it does not make you any less of a woman, mother, or partner to your significant other. It does not make you a bad person, or friend. PPD can affect any mother, at any age and even after your first child, your last-child, or all of them.
Please know you are not alone, and there are so many outlets available to help you manage your PPD. We want to help as many women as we can so you understand how common this truly is, and that it should not be kept a secret struggle for any woman to navigate on their own.
Along with miscarriages, PPD is one of those subjects that are not brought up often. I have found that it is not due to the woman who has experienced it, though commonly it is avoided so as not to make anyone else uncomfortable.
Sadly, many women and their partners who have experienced a miscarriage, stillborn, or PPD, do not receive an outlet to share their story, thus creating an unhealthy habit of keeping this tragedy to themselves, struggling with the sadness, sorrow, and pain, alone. It is easier to keep it inside than confiding in a friend, or family member.
We have talked with many women who suffer from PPD, and we would like to share the stories from some of the women we have worked with, and even from our team of amazing mothers here at Rocky Mountain Sleeping Baby.
PPD has been described as a dark and incredibly sad, experience. There is a feeling of losing oneself down a dark, black hole of sadness and utter despair.
Because this feels like a taboo subject to discuss, many women may feel like something is “wrong” with them when they develop PPD, and keeping it a secret is far easier than admitting there may be something wrong with you.
Women spend nine months developing this amazing little life inside of them. People want to know about your pregnancy, and you are showered with attention, love, presents, parties, and often, catered to. After the baby is born, it can feel as though you become almost invisible to everyone but your newborn. This alone can trigger PPD. Your identity had shifted during your pregnancy, and you may have grown accustomed to the attention you received and when that is abruptly taken away from you, it can be quite a jarring experience, triggering PPD and causing you to want nothing to do with your baby.
Even the experience of delivering your baby can trigger PPD. Many labors are long, hard, and very painful, and even with medical aids, you may feel frustrated, in pain, and exhausted from trying to get baby out, and once the baby is finally out you have mentally checked out and may not feel that instant bond with your baby, and commonly, you may want nothing to do with the little life that you created that caused you such pain and agony.
If you experience any of these feelings, you are NOT alone. Please know this. You are not a terrible person, mother, or partner. You simply experienced a situation that caused you extreme distress, emotionally, physically, and mentally.
Symptoms of PPD
After the baby is born, you might still be experiencing pain from your labor especially if you had a C-section or a bigger baby that may have caused a painful delivery that takes time to recover from. Simple tasks can become harder to do, for instance, picking up your baby, household chores, walking up or downstairs, etc.
You may experience feelings that are not typical for you. For example, you may feel tired all the time, though not able to sleep. Or you may sleep all the time, and only awaken when something needs to be done, only to lay back down and doze off again. You may feel anxious, nervous, agitated, and sad. You might feel like you are floating through what needs to be done, not being present in the moment. You might even cry all the time, without really knowing why.
These are common for women with PPD. Even with an amazing support system, with either your partner, or a parent, and even a great friend who is always there to help you and without question picks up the pieces that you just don’t have the strength to do. You also have this amazing little life that you were so excited for, and while you love your baby, you might not be as into their little lives as you thought you would.
The Guilt Factor
When you have feelings of PPD, you also experience anger that you lost out on the experience you had been waiting nine months for. Missing all the small moments of a newborn, feeling isolated and jealous of the moms on social media who seem so happy and blissful with their babies and showing off every day with cuteness overloads.
You may feel guilty about how you treated your newborn, and your partner or friends and family who tried to help you. You may beat yourself up with harsh criticism and negative thoughts you think to yourself.
Crying all day long may be the norm.
Negative thoughts pouring into your mind may be the norm.
Feeling like you lost who “you” used to be. Nothing excites you anymore. Your hobbies and interests are abandoned, collecting dust.
Insecurity takes over, and you question every detail about yourself. You feel “stuck” in your new journey, and as much as you long for change, you find you can’t move on.
These may be just some of the feelings and thoughts you might be experiencing, they are not all-inclusive and if your feelings and thoughts vary, it does not mean you are having a worse PPD experience. These are just a few we are mentioning so you get the idea of what PPD is, and how it affects each person differently.
Before the baby was born, many well-meaning people may have mentioned the lack of sleep that may happen after the baby was born, and even share their tips and tricks to help you through it.
However, no one discussed PPD or the sleep deprivation that accompanied it.
They also never mentioned the best ways to get your newborn to sleep, and how to ensure they are getting the correct amount of sleep they need. Because of their sporadic sleep schedule, sleep for you may become your biggest challenge. Your sleep pattern is now disruptive, and you may feel both exhausted and wide awake at the same time. Getting through the day may feel like a zombie on autopilot.
Sleep plays an important role in your mental and physical health. Lack of sleep can start to create serious problems for you. There are solutions to help your baby not only sleep better but create sleeping patterns that will carry them through toddler years, and all the years that follow providing a positive sleep relationship that will have amazing health benefits as well.
Rocky Mountain Sleeping Baby has certified sleep consultants that can work with you from virtually anywhere you might be, and we can work with you to implement a sleep schedule for your little one, which in turn, allows you to start sleeping better as well. As mothers ourselves, we know first-hand what you are going through. You can learn more about who we are on this website, under the “about us” section.
The first time your baby sleeps a full 10-12 hours will be life-changing for you. It gives you the time you need to focus on yourself. While at first, it can be a little daunting, in time it will become normal, and it will provide an opportunity for you to take a hard look at your life and allow you to make positive changes.
Getting the correct amount of sleep you need can be a step in the right direction in addressing your mental health and working with someone who specializes in PPD. Finding the right person can change your life, in the best way. Soon, your emotional and mental health will refocus, and your happiness and excitement will make a change for the better for not only your life but the new one you brought into your family.
The 360 Turn
Making that full circle from PPD to becoming yourself again may not have seemed possible, though now you know it is, and you are happy, thriving, and in love with your little one, just as you thought you would be before their birth.
You might become that mother on social media you despised early, and mimic their cheery, happy family with pictures, outings, cute outfits, and videos of everything your amazing little one can do.
You will feel gratitude and truly happy for the challenges you overcame. You will find that you feel better about yourself, your appearance, your relationship with your partner, and what you had neglected before will now positively receive your attention.
As your baby grows, their sleep patterns will change. They will move from a bassinet to a crib, to a toddler bed. Each of these phases can create a challenge that you do not have to face alone. Work with your certified sleep expert during each of these phases so that you and your child do not fall back into old patterns.
Working with a sleep consultant does not make you any less of an amazing mom. It is a sign that you are aware that being a parent takes a village of people to make it flow positively, and you are providing a healthy relationship of sleep for your little one.
We are here for you whenever you need us! Give us a call, send us an email, or sign up on our website.
Remember, you are never alone. Ask for help when you need it and know there are others out there just like you who are just starting their journey into parenthood and could you a friendly hand to guide them to obtain help.