When Postpartum Depression Won’t Go Away
Pospartum depression is a topic that still seems so taboo, even today. Its classified as the months following giving birth where the mother feels feelings of depression (sometimes also accompanied with anxiety) that lasts longer than just a few days or weeks. A new study has revealed that PPD or postpartum depression can actually last for years following the birth.
I remember the way I felt after first having my son. In the first few weeks, I was on cloud 9 and so in awe of this tiny little human. Around 3 months, it hit me like a ton of bricks-I cried all the time and felt detached. As someone who has suffered from depression for years, I learned that the hormones involved with pregnancy and the delivery phase can often trigger underlying mood disorders within women after birth. So I told my husband about my feelings and decided to make that initial doctor’s appointment to talk about it.
I got on anti-depressants after my son and they seemed to haved helped me, but the depression still lingered a bit. After I had my daughter 2 years later, the PPD was much worse the second time around. I started feeling a strange disconnect. I felt at times I did not know myself anymore and I grew further away from my husband. I was still very much connected to the kids-they came first to me, but I do feel sometimes that giving birth changed me in ways I cannot explain-mentally- and I think its important for moms to open up about this and to never feel ashamed about something that cannot control. There is a big stigma revolving around mental health in today’s society so I get it. Moms are made to feel bad for feeling this way so most just don’t open up about it.
After my daughter was born, I got back on anti-depressants but things just never really felt the same. I had extreme anxiety and worry which was new. I remember drinking at times to help cope with these fears, worries, and of course the sadness which was new. During this time, my marriage started to unravel even more and I felt so alone and distant from my husband. To this day, I wish my husband could have been more understanding, but I dont think he really knew what was going on or how to handle it. I also lost friends because I withdrew, stopped socializing as much, and didn’t know how to be a friend. I truly felt alone.
It almost felt like nothing was ever good enough. Nothing could make me happy. No matter how good my business was doing, how healthy and happy my kids were, or how doting my husband was. I was desperately trying to fill this endless void over and over and nothing worked. I did not understand why I felt this way. However, sometimes I do feel the pressures of running a booming internet business alone contributed. Working from home can be extremely lonely at times, even today. Also being the prime income for the home while trying to juggle motherhood was really stressful. These days I learned to cut back on work and just get out of the house which was helped tremedously. What helped me get out of the home was meeting new friends for coffee or lunch and starting CrossFit classes. As moms, sometimes we lose our identities when we come moms and wives so its important to have your own interests which I neglected for myself for quite some time.
It wasn’t until a few months ago after meeting new friends, coping in healthier ways, regular therapy, starting a new hobby, and finding a good anti-depressant that actually worked that I realized that I still in fact suffered from postpartum depression. I knew that I had depression-that is nothing new, but realizing that it was made worse after childbirth-this was new to me. I never realized this could be because I thought PPD was only a thing up until after a year of giving birth. But for roughly 38 percent of women diagnosed, PPD becomes a lifelong condition, according to a 2014 report published in the Harvard Review of Psychiatry. Chronic postpartum depression is truly a thing and many women often do not realize this. I know I didn’t.
The longer the condition lasts after giving birth, the more likely it is that the woman will suffer from depression long-term. A study published in March found that most women who experience severe depression at two months and eight months postpartum still report depressive symptoms 11 years later. Shocking, right?
The truth of the matter is that for some women, it may never totally go away, but knowing you are not alone is key. Women should not be ashamed or embarrassed to let people know they are struggling. A good support system paired with getting help through regular therapy and the right medication is your best bet. On the topic of medication, please do not ever feel guilty for “needing” it. If it helps you to become a happier, healthier mom and individual, it is so worth it!
I still have my moments these days, but things are so much better. I think this is probably something I will have to continously cope with, seek therapy, and use medication for, but I am no longer ashamed. On the weeks I get my children, we get up and out of the house and make the best memories together. They deserve a happy, healthy mom and my goal every day is to wake up and to better myself for them, for me. Seeing them smile is literally the best joy in the whole entire world and nothing compares. Its a constant battle, but I know ultimately I am in control and I am strong enough.
If you are reading this and you suffer from PPD: I want you to know that you are strong, too.
Hang in there, mamas. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
Your trainer and friend,