postpartum, depression, baby blues, motherhood, new baby, women's health, northwest arkansas, obstetricsWhen you hear the word Postpartum Depression (PPD), what do you picture in your mind? Television ads for medications have done a great job of giving us a visual picture of depression, but PPD can look and feel differently than a pervasive feeling of sadness. 

What are Postpartum Depression Symptoms?

In addition to sadness, there are many symptoms that mothers experience as part of PPD. Following are a few symptoms that might surprise you:

Anger 

Rage and irritability are common symptoms of PPD. Anger at a level that you have never felt before that is directed at your partner, baby, older children, or everything. You may slam cabinet doors so hard that they splinter or throw items across the room.

Brain Fog 

The inability to remember words, tasks, or agendas can be due to PPD. What may appear as inattentiveness, such as while driving, you miss your turn, or run through a stop sign, is another sign. PPD makes it hard to multitask as well as you used to. Your mind feels cloudy, and you cannot process your thoughts as well.

Scary Thoughts 

Scary Intrusive thoughts enter your mind, and you have no idea from which they came. Often, thoughts about “what if” fill your mind. No matter how hard you try, you can’t quit the fearful narratives from racing through your thoughts. It has been described as having mini nightmares while you are awake. Intrusive thoughts are a sign of postpartum anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder, which can accompany PPD.

Numbness 

Some women become flat and feel nothing whatsoever instead of crying, having mood swings, and feeling sad. Women can become disconnected from and lose interest in things that they used to care about. They may experience guilt over the lack of connection with their new baby.

Insomnia

All new mothers are tired, and not being able to sleep when you are so exhausted is debilitating in and of itself. PPD causes some new moms to be unable to fall asleep, or if they fall asleep, they wake up in the middle of the night unable to go back to sleep.

Physical Symptoms 

Postpartum depression doesn’t only impact your mind. It can impact your body as well. The physical symptoms that can occur with PPD are panic attacks, nausea, upset stomachs, backaches, headaches, and general aches and pains not caused by a cold or flu.

A Personal Glimpse of PPD

“Immediately following the birth of my daughter, I began to feel the downward spiral of postpartum depression. I believe strongly that the hormonal issues were hugely exacerbated by the pain that I was experiencing post-birth. I suffered second-degree tearing of my vaginal wall and a tailbone fracture during birth. The immediate and strongest emotion that I felt before we even left the hospital was that I would not do what a mom was supposed to do. I was gripped by anxiety so strong that I felt paralyzed, which led to panic attacks. There was no light at the end of my tunnel. All I could imagine was that someone else would need to adopt my child because I would be unable to care for her.” Rhonda

Who Is Affected?

An estimated 9-16 percent of postpartum women will experience PPD. While it is common, it is not normal. Don’t suffer in silence. You are not alone. PPD is treatable. Contact your doctor or care provider and get help today.

To learn more about PPD, visit http://www.postpartumprogress.com/. It is an informative site where you can learn as well as receive support.