In consideration of sharing my personal experience with postpartum depression and anxiety to my loyal readers, I am pleased to join March of Dimes in sharing how to spot the signs and seek help with It Starts With Mom: What You Need to Know After The Baby Arrives. While partnered, this is something I advocate and share quite often on our social media channels. You are not alone when you go home, there is a huge community of cheerleaders!
I felt some loneliness after my first child was born. My husband at the time was away for work through the week. It was just me the kiddo. I tried to build an online community, but it soon fell apart and I would confide in new mom friends made on Facebook. I got through it, never realizing until much later that I was having a form of postpartum depression.
Watch It Starts with Mom Live! Today! June 22 at 3:00 PM ET on March of Dimes Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.
You can see the prior episodes of this year’s It Starts With Mom series at http://ITSTARTSWITHMOM.ORG and see as we chat about mental health, cardiovascular issues, chronic health conditions, how to advocate for yourself and so much more.
Once I had my second child, I immediately thought I was suffering from PPD, however I also had to be rushed to the labor & delivery ER a week after I gave birth. The elephant on my chest and inability to sleep was actually fluid filling in my lungs. This was not noticed upon release and could have cost me my life. I had to become a huge advocate for myself over the course of staying in the cardiovascular building and then allowing my boyfriend at the time to keep coming to pick up breastmilk, getting a pump delivered to the room, and having to be away from my one-week-old was mentally and emotionally exhausting.
While I have never had issues bonding with my baby during or after birth, or thoughts of harming my children, those are very strong feelings that are easier to decipher that you may need to seek help. The calm sensors to postpartum depression are usually pushed to the side as they seem “normal”, such as losing interest in things you like or feeling tired all the time. We often push that to consider it’s just recovery. It is often more than that.
This year, more than six million women will become pregnant. March of Dimes (link to site marchofdimes.org), believes that every single mom deserves to have access to proper resources to learn, advocate for themselves, and make the best decisions for their growing family. Roughly 60,000 women across the U.S. experience severe health complications (many never talked about during pregnancy) or during childbirth.
Recently, a CDC study revealed some hard numbers, that more than 80% of pregnancy-related deaths were preventable! These included cardiovascular and mental health issues that have been playing an outsize role in these deaths.
I have my third child. Now, by this point, I have had six miscarriages. As soon as we announced I was pregnant publicly, we were in a totaled out car crash the next day! I spent my whole pregnancy unable to work, workout, stand most of the time, or be comfortable. All while being high risk to begin with and needing PT for the injuries. I was unable to find out why I was in so much pain as they could not do imaging until I gave birth. This was the most excruciating birth ever, even with the use of epidurals!
I would come to find out a week later that I had spinal injuries from the auto accident and would need surgery. Just before this I would spend two nights in the children’s hospital praying my daughter would not end up with brain damage or dying, because of her bilirubin spikes!
I was tired. I was emotional. I was in pain. I thought all this was normal. It took me about six months to realize I was having daily anxiety of her dying. I was waking up and touching her to make sure she was breathing. I had gone through surgery, losing a family member, moving 700 miles away, and my whole world was spinning. I was chalking it up to stress. In stepped my health provider who I am very close with, thank goodness she listened, talked to me daily and asked if I would be willing to try medication.
I can say now, six months after starting medication, I feel like myself for the first time in many years! I feel I can take on the world. I feel I can be the best possible mother, friend, employee, manager, neighbor, and advocate. There is a huge stigma with people being on medication, but it is saving my life! I had to go through the increased dosage, the side effects which sometimes still peek through, but I can breathe again. I can get out of bed and seize the day!
Ask for help! It is so much easier to see someone else suffering and not to address ourselves. It’s human nature to want to help others. However, you as a mom are so important! You are valued by your child(ren), family, friends, and community! It takes a village, and It Starts With Mom! ITSTARTSWITHMOM.ORG
1 in 8 women who recently gave birth will experience symptoms of postpartum depression.
Feeling depressed, shame, guilt or like a failure are signs of depression.
An estimated 50% of new moms with PPD go untreated. End the stigma!
The week I gave birth, versus seven months later, one month on medication for my postpartum depression and anxiety.