Dealing with Postpartum Depression
The aftermath of pregnancy often goes unacknowledged, but it is necessary to talk about
Photo by Claudia Wolff on Unsplash
The question often asked after mothers give birth is, “how are you enjoying motherhood?” I am guilty of asking this question and have been in the presence of others who have asked. The intention is always positive, but unfortunately for some mothers, joy doesn’t come easy.
Black American women are less likely to receive treatment for postpartum depression. They lack access to physicians, and if they do acquire treatment, they don’t tend to stick with it, which leads to more severe illness.
So what is postpartum depression?
According to the Mayo Clinic, postpartum depression (PPD) is “a more severe, long-lasting form of depression.” It is depression triggered by the birth of a baby and sometimes often begins before the baby has arrived. The symptoms include severe mood swings, excessive crying, difficulty bonding with your baby, loss of appetite, and overwhelming fatigue or loss of energy, to name a few.
Postpartum depression is very normal but can feel abnormal when severe. Most believe that it only entails feelings of sadness, but another common symptom is anxiety crossing over into what is known as PMAD’s (Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders). It’s essential to understand the difference to treat (PPD).
What you can do to treat your postpartum depression
First, as stated above, identifying that you have (PPD) is key to treating it. There are simple questionnaires online to help. Seeking support is the next step once you have determined you need help. Assistance can come in the form of support groups, therapy, medication, nutrition, and exercise, as stated in The Postpartum Depression Handbook (2020).
The help is out there, but to receive it, you have to be willing. Not everyone feels safe taking medication, especially while pregnant, but depending on the severity, it may be necessary and taken securely once prescribed by a doctor.
One of the most natural ways to treat (PPD) is by assessing your diet and making time to be active as much as possible. A healthy diet and exercise can do wonders for the mind, body, and soul.
Lastly, the most important thing to remember if you suffer from postpartum depression is that you are not alone. The many stigmas surrounding postpartum depression often go untreated, and more women suffer from it than acknowledged. Doctors are required to examine their patients for (PPD). Get your screening from your physician as soon as possible for you and your baby.