I don’t focus too much on super serious posts. This is mainly because I like keeping my blog fun, happy, and light. However, as a mom, birth and postpartum is something I feel very strongly about and I feel like moms need more advocates for their births and postpartum healing.
Specifically? Postpartum depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders.
It’s a real thing and it affects more women than you think. “According to the Centers for Disease Control, 11 to 20% of women who give birth each year have postpartum depression symptoms. If you settled on an average of 15% of four million live births in the US annually, this would mean approximately 600,000 women get PPD each year in the United States alone.” I can guarantee that you personally know someone who suffers from some postpartum ‘thing’, and you probably don’t even realize it. The month of May is dedicated to Mental Health Awareness which also includes Maternal Depression/Mental Health. However, it doesn’t just happen in May and we need awareness ALL the time. There is a terrible stigma attached to mental health issues, which in turn, discourages an alarming number of mamas to seek help. “Only 15% of women with postpartum depression ever receive professional treatment.”
Now, when I was pregnant, I never thought twice about PPD stories or statistics. And that’s the thing, you never think it will be YOU. But guess what? It very easily could be you and it is HARD.
As a new mom, I already felt overwhelmed, but, I loved the time right after our daughter was born. Then, as 8/9 months postpartum approached, I just wasn’t feeling the same. I still loved being a mom and our daughter is literally the light of my life and my heart wants to burst with the amount of love I have for her (even when she’s being a grouch!), but, there were things that were changing. PPD, Anxiety, and Mood Disorders vary for every person they affect. Below, check out my Top 5 Most Frustrating Things About PPD.
The Top 5 Most Frustrating Things About PPD
1.) Anxiety– Anxiety attacks are SCARY, especially when they come out of nowhere and you’ve never dealt with them before. I always felt like an idiot for getting so “worked up” over things- things that others would find silly, pointless, no big deal. But, to me, those things sometimes overwhelmed me and I literally could not control it. My poor husband felt helpless, but, whenever an attack hit, he stayed calm and prayed. He told me that every time he began to pray, my anxiety attack would slow and I would calm down. I had NO idea about his praying until he mentioned it one day after an anxiety attack. So, for us, the power of prayer helped and it meant a lot to me that my husband did that.
2.) Feeling Like a Drama Queen– after my PPD and anxiety started setting in, it seemed like the silliest of things could push my emotions off the deep end. I’ve always been a sensitive person, but, this took the cake. I would get upset so fast, when before, the thing I was mad about wouldn’t have even phased me! I felt like everyone just saw me as over-dramatic and ridiculous because they just couldn’t understand. I always felt like I complain too much and that I’m a “Debbie Downer” who can’t just be happy and see the positive all the time.
3.) Feeling Like a Failure– I know I am a great mom. My family knows I am a great mom. Even though I know this deep down, I still felt like a failure for so many reasons. I didn’t understand why I got upset over random things or why some days my patience was non-existent. I felt like a failure when I couldn’t get my daughter down for a nap or when she wouldn’t stop crying. Those things are SO common for moms, yet, I felt like I was the only one who had this “difficult” child. My sense of reality felt so skewed some days.
4.) Feeling Damaged– This is a BIG one. I still struggle with this daily. Motherhood is tough, especially as a first-time mom. The majority of us struggle with something whether we admit it or not. With PPD/Anxiety, I felt like I did something wrong along the way. I didn’t feel like I was capable of doing things or that other people did those things better than I did. The biggest factor in this is when people say things like “oh, calm down, it’s no big deal”, “if you did this, or this, or this, you’d feel better”, or “stop being so sensitive”. I already felt like I wasn’t normal, and then, feeling like I was damaged because of how I felt made me feel even worse. I always felt like I needed to put on a happy face because people just wouldn’t truly understand how I felt. I felt like I needed to be “fixed” and I still feel this way some days.
5.) The Hit To Your Self-Esteem– motherhood is exhausting for EVERYONE at some point or another. You barely have time to shower, put on make-up, etc. I expected that part of my life to take a hit as a mom because I was no longer my priority- my daughter was! However, with PPD, the exhaustion is different. It’s mental, emotional, physical. You no longer have the desire to be your best, because, you don’t feel your best. At all. You feel like a failure because you can’t balance life as a mom, spouse, partner, friend, daughter, whatever. When your brain is going non-stop, when can you find time to do anything “extra”? You don’t feel good enough so why bother pampering yourself?
These feelings are so common with moms struggling with PPD and other mood disorders. Finding support and resources makes a world of difference. If you aren’t ready to seek professional help like counseling, make sure you find support in other ways like online PPD groups and friends who are experiencing or have experienced the same things (I bet you have at least one!). You can also check out some of the resources below also.
I think many people who are not familiar with PPD feel like it’s a quick fix and wonder why we aren’t “back to ‘normal’ yet.” Besides, what IS normal after you become a parent!?
Just remember, you’re not the only one and it does get better with time. Don’t expect a quick fix- it’s a work in progress, but, a beautiful one because you are a mother who sustained life inside for 9 months. You are a wonderful mother whether you believe it or not. You will get through this!
Basic Information About PPD, Anxiety, & Other Postpartum Mood Disorders
Postpartum Depression Statistics
The Symptoms of Postpartum Depression & Anxiety
The 6 Stages of Postpartum Depression
Help & Tools
Six Things You Should Avoid If You Have PPD
6 Tools To Help You Feel Supported & Understood
New Mom Checklist for Maternal Health
Support, Events, & Health Resources
Climb Out of the Darkness
Postpartum Depression Treatment Programs & Specialists
Postpartum Depression Support Groups in the U.S. & Canada
Have you struggled or are you struggling with PPD? What is the most frustrating thing for you?