Saturday, December 11, 2010

Postpartum Depression

Hi Everyone, Hope your doing well. I was watching Investigative TV last weekend and they were showing hour long stories on Mothers who took their own children's lives such as Andrea Yates. She had suffered from Postpartum Depression and was never treated for it. It reminded me that this is a very important issue to post about on this blog. I personally feel my mother suffered from this as well. At the young age of 25 she had already had 4 children, the first three all a year apart with very little support. The psychosis of this illness and the illness itself was unheard of in her time. So she was diagnosed Schizophrenic and endured shock therapy and the Thorazine shuffle for 29 years. I am just so grateful that she was able to get better treatment and live the rest of her life in such a healthier and happier way. I am also happy to know there is this awareness out there now for mothers. If you notice any of these symptoms in a loved one that has just had a baby, please help them. Early detection is crucial for both the mother and child.
Thanks for visiting my blog,
Love ya,
Janet :)

Photobucket

What is Postpartum Depression?

Postpartum depression is a treatable medical illness characterized by feelings of sadness, indifference, exhaustion and anxiety following the birth of your baby. It affects one in every ten women who have had a child, and can affect any woman, regardless of her age, race or economic background. It is not a character flaw or sign of personal weakness, and it does not mean that there is anything wrong with your ability to be a mother. The exact cause of postpartum depression is not known, but certain chemical changes that take place in your body during and after pregnancy may contribute to it.

It can be hard to talk about feeling depressed after having a baby, because of our society’s belief that this should be the "happiest time in your life." If you are suffering from postpartum depression, the time after you give birth feels anything but joyful. You may feel as if you aren’t a good mother, or that the baby would be better off without you. These feelings may make you feel ashamed, and you may feel that you should hide them from your family and friends. However, it is important that you tell someone, whether it is your health care provider, a family member, friend or clergy member, and that you seek help. You can feel better, and getting treatment early is the best thing you can do for yourself, your baby and the rest of your family.

What are the symptoms of postpartum depression?
* Feelings of sadness or "down"-ness that don’t go away
* Inability to sleep, even when the baby is sleeping
* Changes in appetite eating much more or much less
* Irritability, anger, worry, agitation, anxiety
* Inability to concentrate or make decisions
* Inability to enjoy things you used to; lack of interest in the baby; lack of interest in friends and family
* Exhaustion; feeling "heavy"
* Uncontrollable crying
* Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
* Feelings of hopelessness or despair
* Fear of being a "bad" mother, or that others will think you are
* Fear that harm will come to the baby

Postpartum Psychosis
With postpartum psychosis — a rare condition that typically develops within the first two weeks after delivery — the signs and symptoms are even more severe. Signs and symptoms of postpartum psychosis may include:

* Confusion and disorientation
* Hallucinations and delusions
* Paranoia
* Attempts to harm yourself or the baby

Get help right away if you have any thoughts of harming your baby or yourself. Tell a medical professional, clergy member, loved one or friend immediately.

What are some risk factors for postpartum depression?
* A history of depression during or after previous pregnancies
* A history of depression or bipolar disorder at any time
* A history of depression, bipolar disorder or postpartum depression in blood relatives
* Poor social support
* Unpleasant life events happening around the time of the pregnancy or birth
* Instability in your marriage or relationship
* Feeling unsure or ambivalent about your pregnancy

What can I do about postpartum depression?
* Talk to your doctor about all of your symptoms, your medical history and any medications or "natural" remedies you are using.
* Consider taking medication ask your doctor which medications are least likely to pass into breast milk.
* Consider psychotherapy find a therapist or counselor with whom you feel comfortable, who can help you cope with the feelings you are having.
* Do your own research to learn more about postpartum depression and its treatment at your local library or on the Internet.
* Become part of a support group, where you will be able to share your thoughts and feelings in a caring environment with people who have "been there."
* Eat balanced meals at regular times.
* Do light exercise, such as walking.
* Work with a therapist or counselor to develop stress reduction techniques.
* Give family and friends opportunities to help you, such as doing housework or watching older children.
* Use a journal to express your thoughts and feelings, and record changes in your moods.

4 comments:

  1. Thanks Janet for posting this. Andrea Yates' story will always have a special place in my heart. I have actually read all the transcripts on this case a few years ago. It's so sad. Everyone around her, personally, medically, knew there were serious issues. Sadly, people wanted to believe Andrea would "pull through" it. I am a strong advocate when it comes to drugs to help the patient. I read that many times, doctors are scared to "prescribe" them because they can be addicting. I get very angry with that. I do believe the meds are out there to help people like Andrea. The light must be continued to be brought to this issue!! xoxoxo

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Kimmy, Andrea's story is hopefully something that will change that perception of expecting a mother to just pull through it! That is what makes her and other mothers situation even more heartbreaking, the lack of understanding that they just can't pull through without the help of medicine if all else fails. What is the worst of the two evils, addiction or psychosis? I'll never understand the doctor's way of thinking, it is so frustrating! Thank you for your insight and I will keep a light shined on this issue,
    Love and Light to you Kimmy xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  3. I had it, big time and unchecked. I had it after our first child, and then again after our 2nd. It wasn't until after our 2nd that I sought help. But I also have depression and anxiety issues all around. Sleep deprivation was a serious problem of mine. So little sleep for long periods of time made me nuts...literally. Also, the lack of support I received from my husband because of his drinking problem didn't help either (thankfully, he's 1 1/2 years sober, and life is much better!). There are so many contributing factors to it. But I was one of those moms who wanted to bail out and nearly shook the baby...nearly. Thank goodness I didn't! Thank you for shedding some light on this subject. So many feel guilty when they have depression, and it's worse after having a baby. "I'm supposed to be happy! I just had a baby! What's wrong with me? I must be a bad mother!" Seem familiar? Yup.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Jennifer, I am so sorry to hear you suffered with this, thank you for sharing your insight, your right as a Mom we are always suppose to be happy!! I will keep updating the progress they are making in this area, thank you for the comment,
    Hugs to you,
    Janet :)

    ReplyDelete