By Brittany Legg
#Fearless Family Writer
When you hear about someone having postpartum depression, you probably think of the stories on the news about women harming their children. These are extreme cases, though they do happen. I went through the experience of having post-partum depression (PPD) after the birth of my daughter, and never laid a hand on her.
While I was thrilled that she had finally arrived, after a few weeks of being home something just didn’t feel right. I was constantly worried something was going to happen to her. I couldn’t sit still and just enjoy bonding with her. At first, I just believed that it was due to being a new mom for the first time, and also to my extreme lack of sleep. So, I started doing a little research online, mostly to find others who had felt this way. Turns out, PPD is more common than you think.
After discovering that I was experiencing some of the symptoms of PPD, I decided it was time to talk to my doctor. Before talking to my doctor, I had only heard bits and pieces about post-partum depression. I knew that some women got it after having a baby, and that it could possibly lead to hurting your child. It was not something that I found to be discussed frequently, and to be honest, it is just now beginning to be openly discussed.
There is a stigma associated with those dealing with PPD, which leads to those having it feeling ashamed that they can’t keep their life together. As a result of my PPD, I spent almost a year on depression medication. This helped tremendously, and I was eventually able to wean myself off of them, though I still experience symptoms from time to time. Some women can have post-partum PTSD after experiencing PPD, basically still having anxiety, moments of being extremely overwhelmed, and any other symptoms that the woman could have dealt with during PPD.
Personally, I still experience anxiety. I hate having my daughter out of my sight for too long, even if she is with someone I trust. I will spend time worrying if she’s getting enough sleep, having fun, etc. I can no longer watch horror movies, or I will have nightmares for days. I also have control issues regarding daily schedules and certain things in the house being just right, which I am struggling to deal with daily (my husband had incredible patience with this!).
I feel like I will always have some quirks to deal with from my PPD, and I can deal with those one at a time. I am thankful for such a great support system; otherwise, I would not be able to deal with everything as well as I have.
My biggest fear for the future is having another child. While a sibling for my little girl is definitely in the plan, do I really want to open myself up to having to go through PPD again? What if I don’t handle it as well as I did the last time around? (One thing about PPD, there are a lot of “what ifs” that run through your mind.)
If you want to learn about more about PPD, please click on the link below. It gives you stats, explains the different forms of PPD and their symptoms, and how you can get help.
Symptoms of PPD include, but aren’t limited to:
- Feeling overwhelmed and wondering if you should have become a mother in the first place;
- Feeling guilty that you can’t handle being a mother better than you are;
- Not being able to bond with your baby;
- Having very little patience, and becoming easily irritated or angry;
- Feeling nothing, or numb;
- Crying for no reason at all;
- No concentration, or not being able to make simple decisions;
- Not being able to eat and/or sleep.
It is important to remember that you may not have every one of these symptoms, but if you have even two of them, you might want to consider talking to your doctor. For more information on PPD, please visit http://postpartumprogress.org/.
Thank you to Brittany for sharing her story!
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