Why you aren’t crazy- Let’s Talk Postpartum Mood Disorders
Postpartum Mood Disorders... Is this normal? Or am I just crazy?
First things first, repeat after me... “I. Am. Not. Crazy.” Seriously- I know the first step is admitting you might have a problem... but if you are suffering from postpartum mood disorders- that doesn’t mean you have completely lost your marbles. Really. I mean it. How do I know? Keep reading.
Did you know that 1 in 7 Mothers and 1 in 10 FATHERS suffer from postpartum depression? In addition 15-20% of women experience perinatal mood disorders. It’s pretty darn common. Women of every culture, age, income level and race can develop perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. Symptoms can appear any time during pregnancy and for the first 12 months after childbirth. There are effective and well-researched treatment options to help you recover. Although the term “postpartum depression” is most often used, there are actually several forms of illness that women may experience. I’m going into the top 3 most common here.
I personally suffer from anxiety and depression. I have been diagnosed for over 10 years now. Both are very real. In fact, at times they can be absolutely crippling. But let me tell you a secret- no matter what some crunchy moms Facebook group tells you, you don’t have to live that way. There is no shame in seeking help. Medications, Counseling, Supplements and more can truly help- and there is absolutely no shame in seeking them out.
So some of you are probably thinking “Ok, she’s a doula- so how does SHE cope?” Obviously us crunchy doulas are too good for meds right? Wrong. So wrong. My therapist’s name is Nic. (If you are in Central MS, send me a message for his number- he is SERIOUSLY AMAZING) Also, I am the proud owner of some prescriptions to help me live a pretty beautiful, productive life with an amazing husband, and an absolutely crazy work schedule! No shame in my game.
Still breastfeeding? There are options for you too. Don’t let others convince you that there aren’t.
So let’s talk symptoms of the 3 most common Postpartum Mood Disorders.
Some of the more common symptoms a woman may experience include:
Feeling sad, hopeless, empty, or overwhelmed
Crying more often than usual or for no apparent reason
Worrying or feeling overly anxious
Feeling moody, irritable, or restless
Oversleeping, or being unable to sleep even when her baby is asleep
Having trouble concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
Experiencing anger or rage
Losing interest in activities that are usually enjoyable
Suffering from physical aches and pains, including frequent headaches, stomach problems, and muscle pain
Eating too little or too much
Withdrawing from or avoiding friends and family
Having trouble bonding or forming an emotional attachment with her baby
Persistently doubting her ability to care for her baby
Thinking about harming herself or her baby.
The symptoms of anxiety during pregnancy or postpartum might include:
Feeling that something bad is going to happen
Disturbances of sleep and appetite
Inability to sit still
Physical symptoms like dizziness, hot flashes, and nausea
Symptoms of postpartum PTSD might include:
Intrusive re-experiencing of a past traumatic event (which in this case may have been the childbirth itself)
Flashbacks or nightmares
Avoidance of stimuli associated with the event, including thoughts, feelings, people, places and details of the event
Persistent increased arousal (irritability, difficulty sleeping, hypervigilance, exaggerated startle response)
Anxiety and panic attacks
Feeling a sense of unreality and detachment
Other Disorders Common In Postpartum Women: Postpartum OCD, Postpartum Rage, Postpartum Psychosis, and Bipolar Disorders.
If you feel like any of these descriptions might fit how you are feeling... Or you generally just feel “off” since giving birth, call your provider today.
All of these disorders must be diagnosed by a medical professional. They can help get it all straightened out and help you get back to your normal.
Listed below are some other resources that can give you more information to assist you in getting the help you need!
If you feel you are having a mental health crisis, call 911 immediately.
If you are not in an emergent situation and you feel like you need to talk to someone before you can get in to see your provider, contact Postpartum Support International’s Helpline at:
You can also text PSI! 503-894-9453
Leah, Birth Doula/Owner
Mississippi Baby Company