Contributed by Veee
How do you know if you may have postpartum depression? For the past few years, I have felt so guilty about the way I treated my daughter during my pregnancy with her and even after giving birth to her. With time and research, I came to realise that I was going through Postpartum depression or PPD as it is commonly called which had not been diagnosed and which many women go through but cannot understand or speak about in our society.
As I always tell people, the greatest feeling in this world is; holding your healthy baby in your arms for the first time. Nothing beats that. Imagine going through a pregnancy with all the works, looking forward to holding your baby in your arms and when that time happens, you feel nothing? Everyone around you is happy to see the little one and you are just blank… and then, you ask yourself why?
I had a rough pregnancy during which I was depressed. I was torn between wanting my baby and not wanting her at the same time. I cried a lot then and starved myself sometimes while other times, I was into keeping fit and eating healthy for my baby. I was a bundle of nerves and a total mess most times.
When I had my baby, it was through a Cesarean section due to a small cervix and high blood pressure. When I held her in my arms for the first time, I was so happy. I was happy that she was alive and healthy and that, I didn’t have an abortion even when the pressure was on me to do so. When I took her home, the feeling of euphoria left. I stopped being happy and started being angry. I hated hearing her cry at night, I hated having to wake up to feed/change her. I felt I hated her and then, I hated myself as well for feeling that way. It took me a while alongside counselling from my best friend who is a priest and my mother to get me past that point in my life and help me truly show love to my daughter irrespective of what I went through to have her.
While I was experiencing all this, I had asked a few women around me and they told me it was not possible to ever feel that way about your own child. I decided to talk to my best friend /priest and did my own research before diagnosing myself and coming to the conclusion that I was actually not alone.
Postpartum disorder is not the “baby blues,” which usually go away within a couple of weeks. The symptoms of postpartum depression can last for months. It is a serious illness that can occur in the first few months after childbirth. It also can happen after miscarriage and stillbirth.
Postpartum depression can make you feel very sad, hopeless, and worthless. You may have trouble caring for and bonding with your baby.
You have a greater chance of getting postpartum depression if:
- You’ve had depression or postpartum depression before.
- You have poor support from your partner, friends, or family.
- You have a sick or colicky baby.
- You have a lot of other stress in your life.
- You are more likely to get postpartum psychosis if you or someone in your family has bipolar disorder (also known as manic-depression).
A woman who has postpartum depression may:
- Feel very sad, hopeless, and empty. Some women also may feel anxious.
- Lose pleasure in everyday things.
- Not feel hungry and may lose weight. (But some women feel more hungry and gain weight).
- Have trouble sleeping.
- Not be able to concentrate.
- Feel unworthy or guilty.
- Have low self-esteem and worry that people don’t like you.
- Find it hard to remember things, or make decisions.
- Feel anxious or worried about things.
Postpartum Depression is not something to be swept under the carpet or assume it does not happen in our society, it can escalate into postpartum psychosis if left untreated. If you as a new mum who is going through any of the symptoms above, you need to speak out. Talk to your doctor or psychologist, pastor or to us here at LagosMums and we will help you in the right direction. You can also take the assessment test on webmd.
As an old LagosMum, if you have had any experience with PPD or know someone who has gone through it, let’s hear you story so that we can help other mothers and mothers to be…
Here’s a link to a PPD survivor/advocates storyPhoto source: genius.com