”I am supposed to be so happy — why am I not?”
Having a new baby can often be difficult for women when they are first home with their child. At a time when mothers believe they should be excited and happy over the birth of their child, some report being miserable, sad, and regretful- – struggling with Postpartum Depression (PPD). Postpartum Support of Virginia (2011) reports most common PPD symptoms as:
- regrets having a baby
- having trouble sleeping, even when baby sleeps
- thinks her family would be better off without her
- fears leaving the house or being alone
- isolates herself from friends and family
- has unexplained anger or irritability
- fears she might harm herself or her baby
- has trouble coping with daily tasks
- has difficulty concentrating or making simple decisions
- feels ”out of control”
- feels guilty for feeling this way
Some root causes of this depression are the result of hormone fluctuations after giving birth, the decrease in amount of sleep a new mom receives, isolation, a history of depression prior to pregnancy or birth of baby, the birth experience, and any concerns related to the baby — feeding issues, colic, a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit experience, etc. These symptoms can be very overwhelming at times and difficult for spouses and partners to understand. Getting help as soon as possible is very important.
Some steps to cope with this illness include getting enough sleep (up to 5 hours a night), having a healthy diet — including 64 oz. of water if you are breast feeding, and etting regular exercise. Ask for help from outside family and friends to assist with laundry, food shopping, and childcare. Sometimes writing in a journal can help process some of the difficult feelings that you may be having. Lastly, consult a mental health professional who can support you with more coping strategies. Please feel free to contact me if you are interested in hearing about more ways to treat Postpartum Depression.