So the big day has come! You’ve finally given birth to your baby. It’s been 9 exhausting months, filled with anticipation, excitement, worry, and the desire to eat strange things. But all that is over now.. The baby is HERE!! From now on, it will be such a magical life. Right?
Everyone is so excited for you. They keep saying “what a blessing” and, how “lucky you are” to have this child. But something terrible has just happened to your emotions. All of the feelings that you should have are not there… In fact… It’s the exact opposite… “What’s wrong with me?” seems to be the unanswered question that plagues your mind.
We are all individuals, and peoples experiences differ with postpartum depression. But, let me list some of the symptoms that are commonly expressed for you to consider:
Feeling Sad – Hopeless – Empty – Overwhelmed – Crying – Feeling Worried or Anxious – Moodiness – Irritability – Anger – Doubt that you can Care for your Baby – Thoughts of Harming Yourself or Baby
Take a moment and read that list again… Can you relate to these things above? If you can, I have some great news for you. We have just identified the reason that you are feeling the way that you feel… It’s a REAL condition that now has a name.. Postpartum Depression, PPD.
So why is this good news? For two reasons… One, is that you are not just loosing your mind =) and two, this condition is very treatable. Did you catch that word… Treatable? That is what is required to make this go away. Not to just be miserable, and suffer until it’s gone, but to do something to treat it. This gives the control back to you. You’re in charge now… Let’s make this thing go away.
So, what is “The Plan”?
First and Foremost… recognize that the chemicals in your brain have been disrupted. With all types of depression, the treatment is in large part, working with your doctor to find the right medication and the right dose. Antidepressant medications are not all the same. My own experience was to try 7 or 8 different ones until I discovered the one that worked for me.
This is important for you to know. If the one prescribed by your doctor isn’t helping, or making things worse, move on to the next one. Give things some time, and don’t get discouraged. Many people just give up after trying one, saying that they tried medication and it didn’t work. Don’t fall for that thinking.
Other things to consider: Getting enough rest – Staying hydrated – Maintaining a healthy diet – Avoiding alcohol – Staying physically active through activities like walking or swimming. Doing something aerobic is a natural way to produce serotonine for your brain…. which is the “Happy” chemical.
Next, put together a team… Your support team. There are many people in this world that love to help others. Seek them out to become part of your team. Avoid those who “bring you down”, or are full of negative energy. Exclude them, even if it’s just for a few months while you recover. And, to all of you… If you feel like there isn’t anyone out there to support you… I have a surprise for you. “There is!” There is a support group for EVERYTHING on line, and yes, there are many groups for postpartum depression. Join one… or several. You will find a tremendous benefit listening and talking to others that have the same struggle that you do. The worst place for you to be is alone inside your own brain. Let your thoughts out!!
Let me give you a secret that I have learned throughout my crazy “Depressed” life. You will find a substantial healing benefit while on line with this support group, when your focus is on helping others and not so much in always looking for someone to help you. Purpose, self esteem building, importance… these earned values are therapeutic for YOU. You find them when you are helping other people.
Now one last thing. This PPD person that you are feeling right now is not who you are. Again, the chemicals are out of balance in your brain. The person that you were prior to getting PPD is still in there. She will return when things are balanced, and all of those other crazy thoughts that you have will be gone as well.
Like all challenges in life, there will be some good that comes of this. You will find that you are more empathetic towards others. Some of your personal characteristics will be enhanced, like patience, love for others, love for yourself. You will see and appreciate things and life in greater detail.
So, continue the journey that life has brought to you. Celebrate the thought that you are stronger than you ever thought you were. Then, when healed, make a difference in the lives of others. They need you. They desire to be taught what you have learned through your experience.