I am due with my first LO in August, and I have a fear of PPD. Many women in my family have had it, including my mom who had to be institutionalized for a few weeks after I was born for PP psychosis. Unfortunately she isn't alive anymore to ask about it, and everyone else in the family just likes to ignore this kind of thing and avoid talking about it.
Well, DH and I were talking the other day about our fears of the birth & the baby, and I told him that I'm afraid this will happen to me and I won't recognize it. So, does anyone have any recommendations for good websites/brochures/info that I could give to DH to be aware of the signs & symptoms of PPD? I've found during this pregnancy that vocalizing my fears, and preparing for them has really helped me to release the fear and move on. Any help would be great. TIA!
Mama Bear , Papa Bear and Baby Bear (8/11)
Well, if no one else is gonna post, I might as well toss something out!
I found these two articles that deal with recognizing (PP)D in someone else:
Some things from my experience with depression (not post-partum)...
1. No one likes to have their feelings disregarded as an imbalance of brain chemicals. So if your DH thinks it's time to have the "I think you have PPD" talk, he should consider waiting until a time when you're fairly calm. (If it's feasible, of course.)
2. Many people are resistant to the idea of sadness being treated as a medical issue. If you think your DH might feel that way, explain that just because sadness is not always caused by a medical problem does not mean it can't be a symptom. As an analogy, sometimes when you vomit, it's purely situational, an not an illness, e.g. you got on a roller coaster after eating three chili dogs. But sometimes when you vomit, it's a sign of having the flu or something. Sometimes you're sad for situational reason, e.g. your dog died, but sometimes the sadness can be caused by the various substances within us that cause our emotions.
3. Likewise, just as it is possible to have the flu without ever vomiting, you could possibly have depression without being sad. It's just one symptom of many. It seems like depression just takes all your emotions down a notch. Something you'd be happy about is now something you feel neutral about, something that should be mildly annoying is now a big problem, something that would normally make you sad will now crush your spirit completely....I think if everything in your life except the PPD is abso-freakin-lutely perfect (hypothetically), your PPD will just make you feel "bleh" instead of sad.
4. And just because you have something "real" (situational) to be sad about doesn't mean you don't have depression... but it does make it harder to recognize.
Does your DH normally know when you're sad, or are you the sort to go mope in private? If the latter, maybe it'd be a good idea to try getting in the habit of being more expressive?
Thank you so much, I'm definitely going to show your tips to DH as well as the sites you recommended. I am the exact opposite of "private" with him (usually TMI about everything) so I think he'll be able to pick up on the signs if he knows what to look for. Thanks for the resources, Cyllya.
Mama Bear , Papa Bear and Baby Bear (8/11)
Well, my experiences with depression also weren't post-partum, but I thought I'd share what I learned anyway.
You didn't say if you've had any issues of depression or anxiety in the past. If you have, I would encourage you to think about what could have triggered them and deal with those issues. That was the biggest help for me. It doesn't so much answer your question of how to recognize if you have it, but if it could help in prevention, that's even better.
And NO, I am NOT saying if you (or anyone else) gets it, it is your fault. But there is never any harm in personal growth.
I would also encourage you to think about your temperament as you prepare. If you don't like surprises, for example, you should know as much as possible what those first post-partum weeks could be like, all the while realizing that both babies and post-partum emotions are unpredictable. I started thinking this way to help my spirited children, but realized it works in adults as well!
Having a new baby is a big adjustment. The Mayo Clinic site says that even new dads are at increased risk of depression, and they don't have all the hormonal and physical changes. It will be exhausting and overwhelming and life will never be the same. It will be harder......but better. I think it was also a help to me that I had very realistic expectations. I mean, if you expect birth to be easy, to fit into your pre-pregnancy clothes at one week, you will be seriously disappointed. On the other hand, if you're expecting to be up all night, know that breastfeeding is hard at first, and realize that it's not all about you anymore, you might be happily surprised.
Wishing you the best!