“Immediately following the birth of my daughter I began to feel the downward spiral of postpartum depression. I believe strongly that the hormonal issues, for me, were hugely exacerbated by the pain that I was experiencing post birth as well. I had second degree tearing of my vaginal wall and a tailbone fracture with birth. The immediate and strongest emotion that I felt, before we even left the hospital, was that I was absolutely not going to be able to do what a Mom was supposed to do. I was gripped by anxiety so strong that I felt paralyzed and that at times 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
When you hear the word Postpartum Depression, what do you picture in your mind? Do you see a haggard mother in wrinkled clothing and unkempt hair with tears falling down her cheeks? Television ads for medications have done a great job of giving us a visual of depression, but postpartum depression can look and feel differently than a pervasive feeling of sadness. In addition to sadness there are a great variety of symptoms that pregnant and new mothers experience as part of postpartum depression or anxiety. Following are a few symptoms that might surprise you:
Anger – Rage and irritability are a common symptom of PPD. Anger at a level that you have never felt before can be 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 – Inability to remember words, tasks, or agendas can be due to PPD, as well as, while driving you miss your turn or run through a stop 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 – Intrusive thoughts which are scary enter your mind, and you have no idea from where 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 OCD which can accompany postpartum depression.
Numbness – Rather than crying, mood swings and sadness, some women become flat and feel nothing whatsoever. 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 un able to go back to sleep.
Physical Symptoms – PPD 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, back aches, headaches, and general aches and pains not caused by a cold or flu.
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. Postpartum depression is treatable. Contact your doctor or care provider and get help today.
If you want to learn more about PPD, visit http://www.postpartumprogress.com/. This is a helpful, as well as, informative site where you can learn as well receive support.
Share your PPD story with us. When did you suspect you had a problem?