Why you aren’t crazy- Let’s Talk Postpartum Mood Disorders

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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.

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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. 

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So let’s talk symptoms of the 3 most common Postpartum Mood Disorders.

 

 Postpartum Depression 

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.

 

 Postpartum Anxiety 

The symptoms of anxiety during pregnancy or postpartum might include:

  • Constant worry

  • Feeling that something bad is going to happen

  • Racing thoughts

  • Disturbances of sleep and appetite

  • Inability to sit still

  • Physical symptoms like dizziness, hot flashes, and nausea

 

 Postpartum PTSD

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.

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 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:

1-800-944-4773

You can also text PSI! 503-894-9453

 

Leah, Birth Doula/Owner

Mississippi Baby Company

leah@doulainmississippi.com

 

 https://womensmentalhealth.org/specialty-clinics/postpartum-psychiatric-disorders/

 http://americanpregnancy.org/first-year-of-life/forms-of-postpartum-depression/

 https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/healthy-woman/sexual-reproductive/postpartum-mood-disorders-what-new-moms-need-to-know

 http://www.postpartum.net/

 https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/postpartum-depression-facts/index.shtml