Postpartum depression often gets lumps in with the definition of postpartum. Postpartum is defined as “after birth”. Therefore, postpartum depression is depression that occurs during the first 3 childrearing years of welcoming a child. Depression does not discriminate against sex, ethnicity, social class, culture, race, religion, or sexual orientation. Parenthood is a beautiful mess, and navigating it alone or in despair can be overwhelming. The unknowns, the uncertainties, the fears, the concerns can overpower the beauty, the instinct, the triumphs, and the validations.
Postpartum Mood Disorders
A postpartum mood disorder is an umbrella term for disorders that surface specifically in the postpartum period. Postpartum mood disorders diagnosis can be anytime in the first 3 years postpartum. These disorders include baby blues, postpartum depression, postpartum rage, postpartum anxiety, postpartum obsessive-compulsive disorder, postpartum post-traumatic stress syndrome, and postpartum psychosis.
Understanding that there are causes that can make a postpartum mood disorder more susceptible in an individual. If one is already preconditioned to battling depression, there is a heightened awarness that during the postpartum time depression may set in. If someone has experienced a miscarriage, infertility, IVF, premature baby, NICU baby, a cesearan section, or a multiples birth they are at a higher risk for postpartum mood disorders.
Common Signs and Symptoms of Postpartum Depression
Signs and symptoms show before attention is given to postpartum depression. Some common signs are: irritability, mood swings, insomnia, loss of appetite distance from family or friends, and/or difficulty bonding with baby. The symptoms of postpartum depression surpass that of baby blues, which affects 70-80% of birthing individuals. Postpartum depression can be noticeable beyond the 2-week postpartum mark, and can often be “masked” by the affected to avoid a diagnosis, stigmas, and for fear of implications. Isolation can create a false narrative in the mind of one battling depression and feeling like the sinking in a ship alone.
When to Seek Help
Receiving support well before the symptoms of postpartum depression are diagnosed is highly recommended. Speak to a trusted provider, therapist, mental health professional for ways to combat and keep at bay depression. When you feel “off”, seek help. When you notice a difference in your family, friend or loved one after they welcome their baby, seek help. Utilizing resources, reaching out for help, and speaking up when you feel no one is listening can make a difference in the outcome of the affected individual battling depression.
Postpartum Depression Resources
During the past two years, the need for therapy and counseling has never been more emergent. Many therapists have adapted to tele-health appointments making it convenient to receive the help and support one needs. Las Vegas Therapy and Maternal Minds Counseling are two great resources locally in the Las Vegas Valley that specialize in perinatal support. Postpartum Support International is a wonderful national resource and offers 24/7 support.
Alongside the expert help of a therapist, there are some natural ways to combat depression. Sun and fresh air go hand in hand to clearing away the darkness. Rest and recharge allowing the body to reenergize and find itself again. Ample sleep can make all the difference. Nourishment and hydration are key tenets to a healthy mind, body, and soul. Feeding the vessel with healhly foods and avoiding salts, sugars, and alcohols. Exercising and movement in the body is another great way to keep postpartum depression at bay. When natural endorpihns flow through the body during or after a workout, it truly does wonders to the mind and body.