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Hello, I came here looking for some help!

A good friend of mine gave birth to her third baby four months ago at 34 weeks after a placenta previa. He spent some time in the NICU, at which point my friends was coping well or so it seemed from my perspective. Since then, she has made comments about how hard motherhood is now she has three kids and if she could do it all over again, she would not make the choice to have a third baby again. 

We used to get together at least twice a week, even while either of us were pregnant or had just had babies, and this time, I hardly speak to her anymore except through Facebook and every time everything she says is just so negative. 

I've heard about Postpartum Depression just a bit and it appears to me that may fit my friend but I don't know enough about it. What are the usual signs of postpartum depression and how is it treated?

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Hey,

Postpartum depression symptoms can be:

  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Crying frequently
  • Being confused about the love you feeling towards your baby or not feeling any
  • Mood swings
  • Feelings of hopelessness and not enjoying things you previously enjoyed
  • Feeling detached from the baby
  • Being sad and irritable all the time

Thankfully, postpartum depression is treatable. It can happen to anyone particularly after a stressful pregnancy, labor and birth and is not reflective of the future. I would encourage your friend to seek help ASAP because she sounds like she needs it. Please be encouraging and a good listener. She will need it. 

Rosie

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Postpartum depression can really make mothers feel horrible and do unexplainable things. A daughter of someone I knew threw her baby out of the window. The baby only had a few injuries and lucky enough survived, and the mother was taken to a mental facility and stayed there for half a year. When this happened, the baby was only three weeks old... so sad :(.

It is a shame that more mothers with these feelings don't feel comfortable reaching out for help. The cause is usually hormonal. It doesn't mean that you are a bad mother. It does mean you need help. I think they should routinely screen for this so every new mother and baby can get any help they might require.
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Hey, being a new mother is tough, and being a new mother to a baby who was born prematurely with health problems when you've already got two to take care of is even tougher! The situation you describe could certainly cause postpartum depression, I mean, postpartum depression can happen to literally any mother no matter their 'objective' reasons to feel overwhelmed, sad, trouble bonding with their babies, and so on, but being overwhelmed by itself doesn't mean that a person is depressed. Wouldn't you feel all those things in that situation? I would! It could just be your friend needs time and support. If I were you, I'd offer to clean her house, make her meals, and listen to her feelings. This will help a great deal. 

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I agree with this. Being "down" doesn't have to be a sign of clinical depression, postpartum depression or otherwise. I'm still childless myself but I have many nephews and nieces and I've seen my sisters and sister in law go through generally rough periods after giving birth.

There's nothing necessarily abnormal about that. Especially if there were complications as well. The difference between postpartum depression and just generally feeling overwhelmed is that postpartum depression also causes lack of bonding with the baby, often suicidal feelings, thoughts of harming the baby, not being able to take care of it, and so on in addition to clinical depression signs already posted here.
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A difficult pregnancy and birth does increase your risk of suffering from postpartum depression. It is not true that if the feelings a new mother is experiencing are more in the "completely rational as a result of verifiable difficulties" category that it's not postpartum depression she has. Just like it's not just chemical imbalanced inherent to the brain but also difficult life circumstances that cause "normal" depression.

Just listening to your post it does sound like your friend could have postpartum depression, especially the talk about not choosing to have another baby if she could start over. I think you are right to be worried about your friend.
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I have not experienced postpartum depression myself but I have seen it in a friend of mine.

Postpartum can greatly interfere with the mother baby bonding process, and that is why it is so important to get help as soon as possible. It is unusual for a mother to come out of postpartum depression by herself. In the meantime, she may also have thoughts about harming her baby. 10 to 20 % of all new mothers have postpartum depression, and because it is quite a common ailment it is not necessary to feel bad about it when it happens to you.

Postpartum depression can occur a few weeks after you have delivered but it can occur later on as well. Up to 4 to 8 months after the baby is born. Whenever it happens, the advice is always the same. To find some help. It is possible to overcome, but you do need professional involvement.
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The signs of postpartum depression are basically identical to those of any major depression, right? That's things like feeling sad, crying, unmotivated, no enjoyment in anything, feeling nothing will ever get better, feeling there's no point, not being able to sleep or wanting to sleep all day long, basically constant sleepiness, and of course some get suicidal ideation as well, sometimes actually planning to commit suicide and sometimes just thinking about it without plans. 

I'd guess that the best thing to do is just talk about what this person is feeling like. Like anyone people with depression need a shoulder to cry on, and you could suggest she sees a doctor as well. 

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I suffered from the baby blues after I had my baby. Uncontrollable crying, even when reading books, things like that, worries, being overwhelmed. I thought it was postpartum depression for a while but my midwife said it was very normal to be all emotional after having a baby. It's the hormonal fluctuations, getting used to the baby, the sleep deprivation...

And she was right. I got better pretty quickly. It's hard at times, won't lie about that, but I'm definitely not depressed. I'm very excited about life again... not about the daily drag of course but after I started talking to actual adults more often again and just getting out there, everything definitely got a whole lot better.

This might be going on with your friend as well.
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Postnatal depression sucks. It's not something you can just snap out of either. But just because women get it after having a baby and your friend is feeling... all the feelings after she had a baby doesn't mean she has that. There's other stuff you can have after having a baby as well. Considering you mention a premature baby and what could very well have been a life threatening complication of pregnancy... I'd imagine PTSD is another candidate here as well. Though you're her friend, not her shrink... gotta keep that in mind as well and not "diagnose" her 'cause you can't. Just be there for her and perhaps offer to babysit if she wants to get some counseling or something...

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