After an easy pregnancy to nearly full term, I gave birth to a healthy baby girl and I feel that I should be the happiest person in the world right now. But as a matter of fact, I am not. I feel anxious, insecure, sleep deprived, depressed, low, like crying, and have not bonded with my baby well.
I am trying to work out if I am just a nasty person or if I could perhaps be dealing with postpartum depression. Could tell me, if you have personal experience with postpartum depression, what the most common symptoms of postpartum depression are?
I am so sorry you're going through this! Some of the main signs of postpartum depression are:
- A low mood, feeling empty, crying, anger
- Loss of interest in things you liked before
- Not being able to bond with your baby
- Low energy, tired all the time
Self-hate or beating yourself up (figuratively) can also be part of the signs of postpartum depression, and it sounds like that is exactly what you are doing. You are not a nasty person. There is help, and after you receive help, you can feel so radically different that you will barely even be able to recognize you once felt the way you do now.
Call a helpline if you feel like harming yourself or your baby. And please, open up to someone you can trust as soon as possible.
How long as it been since you gave birth? Many women experience something called the Baby Blues in the first week or so after they give birth. This comes with feeling down, crying, anxiety, and mood swings as well, but it's related to hormonal changes and subsides on its own after that week or so.
Postpartum depression lasts longer and is more severe. In addition to the symptoms the person before me mentioned, it can also cause suicidal thoughts and even plans, or thoughts of hurting your own baby. Postpartum depression comes in different levels of severity.
In either case, I'm glad you came forward, even online. If you're at all worried about your mental state, please call a mental health helpline or speak to your primary care physician. PPD is NOT your fault and it doesn't make you a bad mom. It does require treatment.
Hugs to you, mama. ((~))
I've never been through postpartum depression myself, but my sister did, and the things you're saying do sound a bit familiar to me... though my sister took a long time to start talking about her feelings with others because she was ashamed and thought there was something wrong with HER. Which totally isn't true. Postpartum depression is very common and it's no more "your fault" than a head wound after you slip and fall, or any other medical condition.
So, my sister eventually ended up on antidepressants for a year and then also attended therapy sessions. Her son is 7 years old now and those two are inseparable. She was worried the depression would have a long term impact on their relationship but nothing could be further from the truth.
Please don't delay out of embarrassment as so many moms do. Get help now. It will help you feel so much better.
In my case, I think I had PPD after my first baby was born. I didn't realise it at the time and I didn't go to any doctor about it. I had a complicated childhood and thought that's just how mothers were supposed to feel. Later on, when my daughter was about 18 months old, I started reading things on the internet, I came across them by chance, really, and I recognised myself.
For me, I'll say that I started feeling better the minute I stopped breastfeeding my daughter. I'm not sure that's a coincidence, because that was around the same time I started connecting with others online and talking about it really helped.
I did make a therapy appointment to talk about it, church based, and the therapist just asked me if I was on any medications for my depression and I joked "only red wine in the evening". Then they wanted me to talk about alcoholism instead and I was only joking in the first place, so I didn't even show up.
Oh, as for how I actually felt during what I think was postpartum depression, I felt trapped by motherhood, so enraged by my daughter's cries, guilty for having a baby if I wasn't cut out to be a mother in the first place (which I thought was true then), and I did have suicidal feelings but not with a serious intention of following through.
I know people always say you can't get through postpartum depression without medical help so I still doubt whether I actually had it sometimes, but on the other hand, the symptoms match. And it did pass.
I'll also add that I did have therapy later on with a different therapist, to work through childhood issues. I had two more kids after that and though motherhood is sure hard sometimes, I didn't have any of those feelings with the other two, and today I also have a good bond with my daughter though I sometimes worry if I did do damage. I never hurt her, but the feelings just weren't what they are meant to be, you know? People always say the first year is the most important.
That's why I would encourage you to see your doctor or OBGYN, or anyone really, ASAP. Just make sure you go to someone with experience with postpartum depression who is licensed and not a church therapist/counsellor like I did that first time.
I'm so sorry you're struggling with these feelings at the moment. Crying, low mood, insomnia, anxiety, and insecurity are all signs of postpartum depression, and the fact that you have not bonded with your baby yet is slightly worrying as well, although some moms do take longer to get there.
Something I can tell you for sure is this — you are not a nasty person just because you are experiencing these feelings. Postpartum depression is, as I understand, caused by a chemical imbalance just like "ordinary" depression. Do seek treatment though. Antidepressants and therapy are there to help you.
Also, is there someone who is helping you with your baby, with the day-to-day stuff that can be so tough during the early stages?
That does sound like postpartum depression, topic starter. I'd say, if you're in doubt, you at least know that you're feeling... not very nice... at the moment. If you've had your baby really quite recently, you'll still be in touch with your pediatrician, your OBGYN for the follow up appointment, etc, so next time you see a doctor, definitely mention how you have been feeling and just take it from there. Of course, if you are in crisis mode before that and you really feel you can't go on any more, just go in right away. If you do have postpartum depression, help is out there and there's nothing to be ashamed of.