How do I know I have PPD?
According to the American Psychological Association, warning signs are different for everyone but may present themselves as:
- Inability to sleep, sleeping too much, difficulty falling or staying asleep
- Disinterest in the baby, family, and friends
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, or making decisions
- Thoughts of hurting yourself or the baby
- A loss of pleasure or interest in things you used to enjoy, including sex
- Eating much more, or much less, than you usually do
- Anxiety—all or most of the time—or panic attacks
- Racing, scary thoughts
- Feeling guilty or worthless—blaming yourself
- Excessive irritability, anger or agitation—mood swings
- Sadness, crying uncontrollably for very long periods of time
- Fear of not being a good mother
- Fear of being left alone with the baby
- Thoughts of suicide
Listen as these mothers tell Buzzfeed when they knew it was time to seek help.
What can I do?
- Don’t face PPD alone—Seek help from a psychologist or other licensed mental health provider; contact your doctor or other primary health care provider.
- Talk openly about your feelings with your partner, other mothers, friends, and relatives.
- Join a support group for mothers—ask your health care provider for suggestions if you can’t find one.
- Find a relative or close friend who can help you take care of the baby.
- Get as much sleep or rest as you can even if you have to ask for more help with the baby if you can’t rest even when you want to, tell your primary health care provider.
- As soon as your doctor or other primary health care provider says it’s okay, take walks, get exercise.
- Try not to worry about unimportant tasks—be realistic about what you can really do while taking care of a new baby.
- Cut down on less important responsibilities.
We understand that not all mothers have the financial or economic freedom, to take time off of work or parenting. The lack of time for yourself and added pressure can extenuate your depression. Talk to someone. Early detection and treatment make all the difference. Resources are available to you. If you cannot call your primary physician, psychologist or a licensed mental health provider; tell someone you trust about what you are feeling. The following hotlines are toll free, and available 24/7.
Call a suicide hotline (free & staffed all day, every day):
National Hopeline Network
National Strategy for Suicide Prevention: LifeLine
PPD can affect any woman—women with easy pregnancies or problematic pregnancies, first-time mothers and mothers with one or more children, women who are married and women who are not. This illness affects all mothers regardless of income, age, race or ethnicity, culture or education. It is an uphill battle, but it can be won. Mom, Camille Mehta, has some great tips and advice on how to continue parenting through postpartum depression.