Despite being one of the three main forms of depression, postpartum depression is underestimated leaving many women unprepared and uneducated for something that affects the majority of women. According to Postpartum Progress, Postpartum depression is so prevalent that the CDC reported that 950,000 women suffered from it. The real catch with this statistic is that it is self-reported. That excludes all the women who were ashamed, confused, or unaware of what they were going through had a name. When comparing this issue to other major diseases for women in America each year approximately 800,000 women will get diabetes, about 300,000 women will suffer a stroke, and about 230,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. With such a high number of those who will be touched by postpartum depression there is a need to raise awareness and education.
The first step is to understand what is postpartum depression. According to Mayo Clinic, postpartum depression is a form of depression that may occur after childbirth. Just like other forms of depression postpartum depression is different than a momentary spell of feeling down. Postpartum depression can occur anywhere between the first few days after birth to sixth months after birth. If it does occur it can last anywhere between a few weeks to a few months.
At this point you may be wondering why postpartum depression is even a thing, after all childbirth is a normal human occurrence. Well the answer can be found when looking at the impact it has physically and emotionally. Physically after one gives birth there is a large change in the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Where a mother was producing hormones for two there is suddenly one body and it takes time physically for the mother’s body to switch processes. Emotionally becoming a parent is taxing. It can be a daunting task to suddenly have another human being rely on you for its livelihood. Now while there is no single cause of postpartum depression, either of these issues combined with various external factors can be the causes.
Now in order to identify postpartum depression or help someone through it you have to be able to spot it. According to Psych Central some symptoms of postpartum depression can look like this:
- Depressed mood or severe mood swings
- Excessive crying
- Difficulty bonding with your baby
- Fear that your not a good mother
- Withdrawing from family and friends
- Problems with appetite and/or sleep
- Anxiety or panic attacks
- Reduced interest
- Thought of death or suicide
It is important to remember that while this gives a list of common symptoms of postpartum depression symptoms these are not the finite list. It is possible for you or a loved one to experience symptoms that are not on the list
Postpartum depression is a hard thing for someone to experience and deserves to be treated like any other illness. If you or someone you know seems like you may have postpartum depression do not wait for it to pass. Please tell someone and seek help. Just like the other forms of depression it can be treated with medication or psychotherapy.
Lastly it is important to remember that postpartum depression isn’t a sign of character flaw or a weakness. Sometimes it can be a complication of giving birth. If you find yourself experiencing any of these signs get help as soon as possible in order to get back on your feet and love your newborn.
~Be mindful of the mind