Postpartum Depression: You Are Not Alone!

By Dr. Beth Wilson, Licensed Clinical Psychologist September 20, 2016

Many of us moms experience symptoms of Postpartum Depression (1 in 8, in fact), but often we feel guilty admitting we are sad, scared, and lonely. And we feel even more guilty if we are not feeling connected to our precious bundles of joy.

For many women Postpartum Depression (PPD) hits them like a wave. They can tell you the moment the depression or anxiety (or both) washed over them. They felt like they were drowning in their own tears of fear and hopelessness.

Although PPD is a relatively common problem, feeling overwhelmed, angry, and anxious is not normal and you don't have to continue suffering. Unfortunately, many new moms are lead to believe that their distress is a normal part of motherhood and that it will go away on its own. Some doctors even encourage this way of thinking.

All new moms need and deserve lots of love, support, and encouragement from their spouse, family, and friends. However, nurturing from our loved ones isn't usually enough when dealing with PPD. How do you know when it's time to seek outside support?

Feeling anxious and overwhelmed most of the time. The anxiety doesn’t subside even with reassurance, rest, or positive moments with your baby.  
Even though it doesn't feel good, it is normal to feel scared during the first weeks of motherhood. Heck, you are now responsible for 100% of the needs of a fragile newborn baby. Talk about responsibility!

Plus, you are tired. When we are tired, everything feels more challenging. Many moms feel better with some help and reassurance from their spouse, family members, and girlfriends but if not, outside support may be needed.

Feelings of regret over becoming a mom that do not seem to go away.
It is normal to have momentary fantasies about running away when the challenges of motherhood feel overwhelming. You may miss your "old life" with your spouse. You may even feel irritated with your baby for changing your life. This is normal.

But these feelings usually go away when you are able to comfort and soothe your baby, when you are rested, and when you feel comforted and validated. If these feelings of regret persist, it may be time to seek outside support.

Loneliness and isolation occur while also pulling away from those who care about you; a lack of desire or motivation to connect with others.
After a few days, many new moms begin to feel very isolated and alone. This is especially true for moms who worked full-time jobs outside the home. They often feel left out of life and disconnected from their friends. This is normal.

However, it is not normal to push people away when they want to connect and support you. When you are tired, overwhelmed, sad, or anxious, you may lose the motivation to even call a friend. And you certainly may not have the desire or energy to shower, get dressed up, and go out to meet a friend.

If you relate to any of these symptoms of postpartum depression, please reach out for support. Talk to your spouse, mom, doctor, or best friend, or visit one of the websites listed below. You can also contact Postpartum Support International at (800) 944-4PPD (4773).

And please remember... you are not alone!