How many women experiencing some form of PPD don't ask for help? After the birth of my first daughter it took me more than a month to recognize that what I was feeling wasn't normal. Only after talking to a close friend who had gone through PPD did I contact my doctor for help and I was so glad that I did. She put me on a low dose of Zoloft, which we increased when my husband deployed, and I stayed on it until my daughter was about 10 1/2 months old.
With the recent birth of my second daughter, I didn't want to take any chances. I know that there is a greater risk of experiencing PPD a second time as well as the added stress of having a second child. I spoke with my doctor before my daughter's birth and she started me on Zoloft right in the hospital.
Are anti-depressants fast acting? Not really. You have to wait for a therapeutic dose to build up in your system; however, each day I start to feel a little better. This time there hasn't been the uncontrolled crying that I experienced the first time. My anxiety occurs only in specific situations such as when the baby is in the carseat and I have to check constantly to make sure she is breathing. Although there are times when I just plain feel anxious. My heart races, my chest feels tight, and I just feel uncomfortable and restless. For myself, I try to remain calm, talk myself through it, and wait for it to pass because it does pass. Eventually.
PPD is more than the baby blues. According to WebMD, baby blues are " A certain amount of insomnia, irritability, tears, overwhelmed feelings, and mood swings are normal during the first days after childbirth. These "baby blues" usually peak around the fourth postpartum day and subside in less than 2 weeks, when hormonal changes have settled down. If you have postpartum blues after childbirth, you're not alone-more than half of women have temporary mildsymptoms of depression mixed with feelings of happiness after having a baby."
While PPD, "Symptoms of postpartum depression can follow postpartum blues. They can feel like more of the same or can feel worse than before. Postpartum depression can also happen months after childbirth or pregnancy loss. In some cases, symptoms peak after slowly building for 3 or 4 months. Possible PPD symptoms require evaluation by a doctor.
If you have postpartum depression, you have had five or more depressive symptoms (including one of the first two listed below) for most of the past 2 weeks, including:1,2
- Depressed mood-tearfulness, hopelessness, and feeling empty inside, with or without severe anxiety.
- Loss of pleasure in either all or almost all of your daily activities.
- Appetite and weight change-usually a drop in appetite and weight but sometimes the opposite.
- Sleep problems-usually trouble with sleeping, even when your baby is sleeping.
- Noticeable change in how you walk and talk-usually restlessness, but sometimes sluggishness.
- Extreme fatigue or loss of energy.
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, with no reasonable cause.
- Difficulty concentrating and making decisions.
- Thoughts about death or suicide. Some women with PPD have fleeting, frightening thoughts of harming their babies. These thoughts tend to be fearful thoughts, rather than urges to harm."
If you or someone you know is experiencing PPD please reach out to your primary care physician, OB/GYN, or someone you trust for help. Having a baby is stressful enough without feeling your best emotionally and mentally.
Serenity Counseling Online is also available to help support new parents manage feelings of anxiety and stress. Contact us now for more information.