Is it possible to prepare for postpartum depression? Absolutely!
While not every new mom experiences PPD, mothers (and their babies) are best off when they consider whether they have a predisposition for it.
Here are some of the risk factors:
If you check any of these risk factor boxes, let your doctor know while you're still pregnant so everyone is on the same page. You can also connect with a therapist during pregnancy to set up a plan for after birth. Planning ahead allows time to research the effect of certain medications on breastfeeding, set up steps to seek help, and lessen some of the chaos that can ensue when PPD hasn't been discussed and becomes an emergency.
And if you are a mom and if you had PPD/A prior, it can be terrifying to think about having another baby and having to go through PPD/A again.
So what can moms do to reduce these risks? Below are some recommendations:
Taking steps may help to prevent a Perinatal Mood Disorder from occurring the second time around. And if you do struggle again, changes are that you will get help and recover much more quickly with preparation and planning.
A good resource is a book written specifically on this topic, called: “What Am I Thinking?: Having A Baby After Postpartum Depression” by Karen Kleiman.
PPD can present itself in many different ways. Not all moms experience every symptom associated with the disorder, and a mother who was diagnosed with PPD after a previous birth may experience completely different symptoms after a subsequent birth – or no symptoms at all. These are some of the symptoms moms with PPD may experience.
Irritation, Anger, or Rage
When a baby cries, women with PPD often feel more irritated than moms without PPD. They can get angry at the baby when it's time to change another diaper or feel unadulterated rage when the baby won't go to sleep. Anger can extend outward to a woman’s partner, friends, family, and even strangers.
Women with PPD often feel overwhelmed by motherhood and the arduous task of parenting. Instead of recognizing this as a time of change and transition, they may view it as a personal failure. They can feel like an unfit mother because they struggle to stay on top of cooking, cleaning, and new parenting duties.
Lack of Connection
Women with PPD often feel withdrawn or like they are not bonding with their baby. They don't feel like doing things with other people and may cancel plans or avoid phone calls or texts. PPD sufferers may feel nothing at all or a total apathy about absolutely everything.
Sadness is a more recognizable sign of depression, but this type feels bone deep. It feels like it may never end, and women with PPD fear they will never feel happy again.
The old adage "Sleep when the baby sleeps" isn’t always feasible for women with PPD. They struggle to sleep at night or nap during the day. Or, on the flip side, all they want to do is sleep, but it feels like no amount of sleep will help get them caught up.
Lack of Concentration
Women with PPD have difficulty focusing on tasks at work or at home. Completing a simple to-do list can feel insurmountable.
PPD and anxiety often go hand-in-hand. PPD sufferers may find themselves afraid to walk down stairs with their baby or may contrive worst-case outcomes for every scenario. They may feel paralyzed by fear.
Just know, that if you are a struggling mom with feel like you are suffering from postpartum depression and/or anxiety, you ARE NOT ALONE and you DO NOT have to suffer in silence, There is help out there and we can help. We have qualified counselors and consultants here at the Center for Personal Wellness who have experience working with moms with PPD/A, and we can even offer online counseling for certain clients. Research suggests that internet-based treatment could have a positive effect on postnatal depression as a whole, providing new moms with support at times which are convenient to them and allowing them to complete a course of therapy. Please reach out to us and we will help! (877) 262-4769
We feel it's important to also address Postpartum Depression during Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. 1 in 7 of women will experience PPD and 1 in 5 of these women will have thoughts of harming themselves. Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death in postpartum women. What can you do to help? Educate yourself about PPD. Most women with PPD suffer in silence. Let's change this! We encourage you to read this article.
This is the real deal. These statistics are real and very scary. Many mom's suffer from this, and if you are a mom and are anything like me, (I too, even being a mental health professional) suffered in silence for way too long.
Lots of women feel overwhelmed, guilty and anxious during a time that we are told is supposed to be full of great joy. You may be wondering if other new moms feel this way, too, or if adjusting to the demands of a new baby really are more challenging for you.
First, take a deep breath, give yourself some credit for all you do, and recognize that you are not alone. Between 10 – 20% of women suffer from Perinatal Mood Disorders (or PPMDs), which can occur during pregnancy and postpartum. One in five mothers report experiencing some level of postpartum depression (PPD).
Having a baby – whether it’s your first or fourth – requires a significant amount of energy and is a major life transition. Although it may not feel like it, you are likely doing many more things right than wrong.
With that said, if you feel like you are, or are wondering if you are suffering with PPD/A, just know that you DO NOT need to suffer in silence any longer. There is help out there!
A great resource is Postpartum Progress. If you are wondering if you too may be struggling with postpartum depression and/or anxiety, I encourage you to read this article titled "The Symptoms of Postpartum Depression & Anxiety (in Plain Mama English)." The author does a fantastic job of helping mom's understand in words that do make sense. You can also take a screening here that you can provide to your health care professional.
Just know, that if you are a struggling mom with postpartum suffering in silence, you ARE NOT ALONE and there is help out there! We also offer a FREE, that's right , FREE Postpartum Depression/Anxiety Support Group here. We also have qualified counselors and consultants here at the Center for Personal Wellness who have experience working with moms with PPD/A, and we can even offer online counseling for certain clients. Research suggests that internet-based treatment could have a positive effect on postnatal depression as a whole, providing new moms with support at times which are convenient to them and allowing them to complete a course of therapy.