Originally Posted by bethany42309
Anybody have any tips as to what I can do? Anybody else going through the same thing?
I dealt with pretty crippling depression this go 'round, pretty much right from the get go, which I have not talked about much here because I didn't really want to burden anyone else, and it's not very interesting. I saw my naturopath quickly, and tried a whole slew of natural products (fish oil, dietary changes, etc.). While I really, really wanted those things to work for me, they didn't. My depression got worse and worse, and by about 12 weeks postpartum it had reached a pretty dangerous point for me. I was also have daily panic attacks, and was pretty much unable to deal with even the mildest problem (and when you have multiple kids, there are many, many mild problems!).
I was very fortunate to be able to get in to a psychiatric nurse practitioner locally who specializes in postpartum mood disorders. She gently suggested Zoloft. It was, in the end, my decision though, and I felt tremendously guilty about it. I had worked so hard to have a completely unmedicated pregnancy (nary a Tylenol, even), and of course, so hard to have a natural birth! And here I was. But Zoloft is nearly 20 years old now, and there is a pretty tremendous amount of research on Zoloft and nursing mothers. I am taking a very, very small dose, about 1/3 of what is considered safe for nursing mothers, and I feel so, SO much better (even with the small amount). I wish that I had just taken it in those first few weeks, instead of trying all the other things I did before hand. I feel like I lost time, and only now that the haze is lifting, can I see how really badly I was feeling.
One thing my psychiatrist mentioned (and that I found so helpful), was that women who are very sensitive to hormones are the prime candidates for PPD. Have you had problems with hormonal birth control? Had greater than average PMS? My psychiatrist explained that women who are more sensitive to hormonal changes, are often very sensitive to estrogen. Estrogen is a crucial hormone in the uptake of seratonin, which I did not know. And following childbirth, levels of estrogen plummet in the body, and do not begin to start normalizing until around the 1 year mark postpartum. This is why many women who experience PPD and "just deal with it" notice that around 1 year, things start to get better. But this helped me to understand exactly what was going on. PPD is not an issue with you as a person, or as a mother. It is a chemical sensitivity, plain and simple. Medication can help to pick up slack in your seratonin uptake until your body normalizes estrogen levels as nursing begins to wane.
Hopefully that info is helpful. A lot of doctors aren't exactly fountains of info on these issues.
As for tips, try to eat as nutritiously as possible, be gentle on yourself, be honest with your doctors, keep feedback open with your partner, and make sure to set aside some time for yourself each week. Also, depending on where you are, many communities have postpartum depression groups that meet, although it is often times through the hospital. But just talking about what is going on in your life, and hearing that you're not alone, can be very, very helpful. I would say that talking is almost as important as the medication, and research supports that in the treatment of PPD. It is good to see a therapist of some kind concurrently with meds, be it a psychiatrist, or even just a counselor. Although try to find someone who has experience treating PPD, vs. "regular" depression, because they are a bit different from each other.
Hugs mama. Hope this helps.