What is Postpartum Depression and Why Does it Happen
You might have heard of baby blues before: feeling a little down for a few days after delivering a baby. You might be aware it’s fairly common, but the feelings go away in a couple of weeks and everything is okay after that. But what happens if those feelings stay long after the first two weeks after birth? What if they start after the normal “baby blues period” has passed?
Postpartum depression is similar to baby blues, but it lasts longer and is more intense. It may appear any time after the delivery, sometimes a week or sometimes a year after. It can last several months and can even create bonding problems between you and your baby.
This doesn’t mean it’s the end of the road in your journey as a parent. It’s just an obstacle. You can overcome it. But to do so, it’s important to know two things: how postpartum depression feels and why it happens.
What Does Postpartum Depression Feel Like?
Postpartum depression is similar to baby blues in a way. Both involve feeling down. But postpartum depression is more than just “feeling down”. Sometimes it’s feeling sad or hopeless, maybe even worthless. Maybe it means feeling restless or having mood swings. It might involve feeling guilty or like you’re a bad parent for feeling this way during a time of joy.
It can also affect your day-to-day life in a variety of ways. It might mean you eat or sleep too much or too little. You might have lost interest in activities that you used to enjoy. Sometimes it means isolating yourself from your friends and family. You might even have some trouble focusing or remembering things.
These might be scary feelings, but it’s important to know that you’re not alone. You’re not the first person who’s felt like this, and it is most definitely not a judgement on your character. You’re not a bad parent for struggling with this big change.
Why Does Postpartum Depression Happen?
It’s easy to get overwhelmed. With everyone’s reactions to Roe v. Wade being dismantled and your own emotions on the matter, it can be difficult to stay afloat. It’s important that you take time for yourself, and make time to breathe.
Meditation can be helpful, but you don’t need to know how to meditate or know fancy breathing exercises to breathe. If you do know them, then great. But if you don’t, just make sure to stop whatever you’re doing and focus on taking a deep breath in and long, slow breath out. You can also just pay attention to how you inhale and how you exhale.
Whatever else you need to focus on, it can wait. Just make sure to take some time to focus on your breathing, and make sure it’s slow and steady.
What Should You Keep in Mind?
Postpartum depression is not unusual. It’s not a reflection of your abilities or a judgement of your character. It’s something that, unfortunately, happens to a lot of people, and you might be one of them too. If you are, that’s perfectly fine. You can get through this.
If you need help to do so, that’s perfectly okay and completely normal. Don’t be afraid to make an appointment. Together, we can help you cope with these feelings of hopelessness. Together, we can make sure you get to where you want to be in your parenting journey.
You can also learn more about how Mindful Reflections can support you by checking out our Postpartum Therapy page.
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