Postpartum depression, I now know, is nothing to be ashamed of. Although it only occurs in about 10-20% of new moms, it is a very real problem; a problem that I did not realize I had until it was almost too late.
Why was I crying? Why did I feel like such a burden? Why did I not want to participate in anything? Most of all, why did I feel just so plain numb? Life was happening all around me but I wasn’t a part of it. I spent the majority of a two month span in my bed, hiding from everything and everyone, while my husband took care of our son.
It wasn’t until I was in the bath tub, a knife on the side, thinking of how my family would be so much better off without me that, for some reason, God perhaps, I suddenly knew my son needed me and that this was not the answer. The knife I had picked up, I sat back down. I knew I needed real help. I called my mom who immediately got me in to see a doctor. In my particular situation, therapy and a combination of antidepressants slowly brought me back.
Not everyone who experiences postpartum depression has it to the extreme that I did. I write this because if just one person had told me about this disease during my pregnancy, perhaps myself or my husband would have caught it before it got so bad.
Symptoms vary in severity among women and include the following:
- Feelings of hopelessness, despair and exhaustion
- Feelings of extreme inadequacy and low self esteem
- Lack of energy
- Inability to sleep, even when an opportunity arises
- Loss of interest in everything
- Constant crying
- Overeating or forgetting to eat
- Surprising or frightening outbursts of anger at loved ones
- Recurrent thoughts of hurting oneself (even suicide)
- Recurrent thoughts of hurting the baby
Postpartum depression can be frightening and scary but seeking help shouldn’t be. Sometimes, admitting your concerns about yourself to a trusted friend or loved one is the first step in helping yourself. Don’t be ashamed. Be an inspiration for others who also need this help.
– Kory Houser