We expect new parents to be happy – tired maybe, but happy with their new little bundle of joy. And some are just that. However, 1 in 7 moms and 1 in 10 dads experience postpartum depression. They do not feel happiness or joy. They feel anxious, overwhelmed, irritable, angry, sad and utterly confused about why they do not feel the way they expected.
Fear of being judged holds parents back from talking about how they really feel.
When they are being totally honest, here are some of the things they say:
- I am invisible. I am broken. I am nothing.
- I need help, I am drowning in my own thoughts and I don’t know what to do.
- I have totally lost myself. I find no happiness in life anymore. I just toss between crippling depression and blinding rage.
- I am feeling overwhelmed, anxious, lonely and exhausted. I get no joy from anything. I feel like a failure.
- I am scared of taking meds and being judged.
- Some days I just can’t take it and I want my old life back.
- As I look to the future I see nothing to look forward to – nothing to hope for, just a life of stress, struggle and sadness.
- I hate my life right now.
- I just want to be happy.
It is overwhelming to read these statements. Imagine how overwhelming it would be to feel them about your baby and a time in your life when you thought you would be your happiest. Or maybe you are someone who experienced postpartum depression and reading these statements brings some comfort that someone actually understands.
Parents who experience postpartum depression are afraid this won’t get better. They are afraid they made a mistake. And they are afraid they will never feel like themselves again. They are robbed of the exciting experience they anticipated and instead, they feel embarrassment, guilt and shame.
They mistakenly view themselves in negative harsh ways that make them feel even worse about themselves. Instead of thinking,” I have these terrible symptoms that are making me feel so bad”, they think “I am bad – I am a bad parent, I am a bad partner, and I am a bad person.”
The good news is that postpartum depression is 100% treatable, but if left untreated it can linger and develop into a more generalized depression. Depending on the severity of the symptoms a combination of self-care strategies, therapy and possibly medication may be needed.
Postpartum depression is an illness. It does not discriminate – anyone having a baby can experience it. Reaching out for help will reduce the suffering you are experiencing and promote a quicker recovery. Speak up and let others know how you are really feeling. We are here to help. We understand postpartum depression and we know the steps to take to help parents feel better quickly. Reach out – no one should suffer alone.
A Book We Love
Over 90 percent of new mothers will have scary, intrusive thoughts about their baby and themselves. What if I drop him? What if I snap and hurt my baby? Mothering is so hard – I don”t know if I really want to do this anymore. Gosh, I”m so terrible for thinking that! Yet for too many mothers, those thoughts remain secret, hidden away in a place of shame that can quickly grow into anxiety, postpartum depression, and even self-harm. But here”s the good news: you CAN feel better!