Ladies, let’s face it, as mothers, we go through a lot. Especially during pregnancy… I mean, we get morning sickness, and we have to push a big baby out of us. Oh, and don’t let me forget about contractions, but there’s something else most women go through that no one talks about. So, again, more of a suffer-in-silence type of thing that we should not feel ashamed of, but many of us do.
It’s called postpartum depression or PPD. For those of you that might not know what that means, according to marchofdimes.org (click here to see the definition as well as more information), “Postpartum depression is a medical condition that many women get after having a baby. Strong feelings of sadness, anxiety, and tiredness that last for a long time after giving birth. These feelings can make it hard for you to take care of yourself and your baby.” (Click here for a test to see if you could have PPD.)
My Postpartum Experience
Now I know I don’t really have that much experience with PPD. But, just in case you haven’t read my post, Unconditional Love. When I first had my daughter, I did not want to hold her. I wasn’t even the first person that changed her. It was my boyfriend, her father. I would breastfeed her or change her if I have to, then I would put her in her hospital bassinet or pass her to whoever was there.
Then there was one moment where I was by myself and noticed that she needed to be changed. I picked her up to change her, but she started choking, so I tried to pat her back, but she started to turn blue. I had to call the nurses in, and they had to take her for testing. Which made me so upset after I got her back I never wanted to put her down. I would hold her and love on her all day long. Sometimes I still do it to this day.
Postpartum Interview Questions and Answers
I decided for this blog post to interview someone I know has been through PPD and can give their own perspective on things. Below is a photo of one of my best friends, Shakiera, and her son Noah. (photographer Terrence F. Humphrey) Here’s her take on PPD and her experience with it.
• What does PPD mean to you?
I believe Postpartum depression is women experiencing different moods after childbirth. Those mood changes can be sadness, tiredness, or anxiety.
• What signs did you feel?
I noticed a dropped in my overall mood. I didn’t want to be around anyone besides my newborn son and husband. I was always tired and anxious about my baby well-being.
• What made you decide it was time to get help?
When I lost my childhood friend to suicide, she was 6 months pregnant. I knew I needed help because I needed to deal with my depressed mood and the loss of a friend.
• What steps did you go about finding your therapist?
I actually used social media to find my PPD therapist. The two therapists I saw didn’t know how to handle my moods, and the initial sessions didn’t go well with them. So I used an app called Therapy for Black Girls.
• What were the recommendations that they suggested?
We went over different coping skills such as journaling, walking, and working out. They really enjoy using my journals because I have a few self-help ones. I got them from Target
• If you took medication were you still able to breastfeed?
I decided not to take medicine due to my breastfeeding. I believe medication works for mental health, though.
• How long did it take for you to get better?
It took me about a year or so!! I noticed a change after eight months.
• Is there anything that you still struggle with even now?
Yes, I still struggle with the idea of my new body. I know it was a contributing factor in my PPD.
• Was there anything that you felt like triggered your PPD?
I felt triggered by certain people so I distanced myself from them.
• What is, if any advice would you give a new mom?
My advice is to talk about your feelings early. Do not wait because you are not alone. Everyone goes through it. Reach out to your provider for guidance and use social media to find credible sources.
Getting Help with Postpartum Depression
If you are someone you know is showing symptoms of postpartum depression please, if you see something, say something. According to this website, if you have postpartum depression, different treatments can be done to get help. Those treatments are;
- Electroconvulsive therapy
Electroconvulsive therapy is one used in the most extreme cases, so don’t worry about that one. For getting help on finding a therapist to talk to, you can speak to your healthcare provider. You can also do other things to take care of your health as well such as;
- Sleep while the baby is sleeping
- Ask for help if needed
- Talk about how you feel with other mothers or your partner
- There’s support groups on facebook or in person that you can join
Believe me, I understand that not everyone is comfortable with doing the second thing. Think of it as taking a mental health day. Asking someone for help seems like an unreal task, especially when you’re the mother and the baby is your responsibility. It’s true you are the mother, but to be honest, the other part of being a mother is knowing when you need help and getting help. Your health is important! A healthy mom means a healthy baby.