Ready, Set, Baby Blues

You’re pregnant and your mind is all over the place. That’s not going to change for a very long time. It doesn’t matter if you were trying to start a family or your new bundle of joy caught you by surprise, the concern is the same. You want to make sure you do everything to bring a healthy baby into the world.

You’re probably reading every book available to make sure you’re not overlooking any details. The fact is, no matter how much you prepare, there will always be unexpected turns in the road ahead.

One such unforeseen reality can be the toll your pregnancy takes on your mental health. People spend so much time expecting you to be exuberant that even if you are feeling sad or overwhelmed, you may be embarrassed to tell anyone. Between 14-23% of women struggle with depression during their pregnancy, you are not alone. Approximately 15% of women experience depression after the birth of their child. Don’t lose heart, there is postpartum depression treatment available.

Signs

Symptoms of depression can start either during pregnancy or shortly after delivery. Be aware of the signs of depression so you can get the help you need before it overwhelms you. When you become a new mom it’s not uncommon to find it difficult to admit you’re having trouble. You want to show your friends and family that you can handle, with grace, all the new demands being thrust upon you.

Symptoms of depression may vary from person to person but can include any of the following:

  • Sadness and/or feeling withdrawn from your spouse or baby

  • Anxiety that’s keeping you from sleeping well or eating properly

  • Sudden or uncontrollable crying

  • Feeling constantly tired and/or lethargic

Risk Factors

Some people are predisposed to depression. If there is a personal or family history of it, there is a likelihood that you may struggle with postpartum depression.

Other risk factors include:

  • Stress you may be experiencing in your marriage or finances

  • If you had any complications associated with the pregnancy or delivery

  • Giving birth to multiples

There is no all-inclusive list of what you may be feeling or why. What’s important is recognizing your feelings and reaching out when you start to notice your sleeping and/or eating habits are changed or you no longer feel joyful about things that used to make you happy.

Where To Turn

When you notice that it’s time to get help, the best place to start is your family doctor. Chances are you may have an unfounded fear of speaking with your spouse or close friends and family about your unsettling feelings.

It’s fairly normal to be uncomfortable talking to those you’re closest to because you don’t want to feel like you’re failing. The ironic truth is by acknowledging you need help, you are doing the exact opposite of failing. You’re taking the first steps towards getting a grip on what is going on with you.

Share The Burden

Don’t deal with postpartum depression on your own. Besides seeking professional advice from your doctor, look into local support groups. By listening to and interacting with other new moms who are struggling with the same thing you are, you can see firsthand that there is nothing wrong with you. Many times women take depression as a personal failure, weakness or sign that they are somehow broken.

It is important to know and understand that what you are going through will be short-lived if you get the help you need. Struggling with depression after such a life-altering event as childbirth is nothing to scoff at; nor should you beat yourself up.

Speak Your Mind

*