One of the things that I value most about teaching New Mom Support Classes at The Pump Station, is that I am able to reach women who are suffering from postpartum depression (PPD) and show them that there is hope and a way out of the pain they are experiencing. I know what a privilege it is to be able to reach these women because many who suffer from PPD, do so alone. The shame and guilt attached to something that is a medical condition, and no reflection on a person’s character, is still unfortunately very real. The classes that I teach are not specifically designed for PPD. They are for new moms in general; so attending the class does not have the same stigma attached to it. Once the woman suffering from postpartum depression finds herself in a safe atmosphere surrounded by support, however, she is able to open up and share what she is experiencing. This is one of the first major steps to getting better. Postpartum depression is treatable, and the sooner you get help, the sooner you will feel better.
Postpartum depression is one of the most common complications of childbirth affecting 15-20% of women. It is caused by hormonal, physical and emotional changes related to pregnancy and childbirth. In the beginning, postpartum depression can look a lot like “the baby blues.” The baby blues consists of mild depression and mood swings following the birth of your baby. It is estimated that about 80% of new mothers will experience some degree of the baby blues. After a few weeks, as a woman’s hormones begin to stabilize and she adjusts to having a newborn, the baby blues subside. Symptoms that last longer than a few weeks, or are severe enough that they interfere with managing daily life, are considered to be postpartum depression. Common symptoms of PPD include: Sadness, anxiety, irritability, feeling overwhelmed, isolated, feelings of shame and guilt, difficulty concentrating and making decisions, changes in appetite and sleep, lack of concern for yourself, difficulty bonding with your baby, negative feelings toward your baby, and thoughts of harming yourself or your baby.
There are many factors that can make a woman more vulnerable to postpartum depression. Some of these factors, such as having been diagnosed with a mood disorder in the past, or having a family history of depression, are not in our control. Other risk factors, though, can be greatly reduced by being informed and proactive during your pregnancy and after your baby is born. Please join the Mommybites’ Teleclass- Understanding and Dealing with Postpartum Depression: For New and Not-So-New Moms on May 14th to get more information on postpartum depression. Find out how your involvement and preparation can lower your risk for PPD. In addition, find out how to get help and support if you believe you or someone you know is suffering from PPD. Remember, PPD is treatable!
By Jill Campbell, Psy.D., The Pump Station & Nurtury
Thank you to Ingrid Franz Moriarty photography for this AMAZING image!
DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed by Dr. Jill Campbell, The Pump Station & Nurtury, and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of Pregnancy Awareness Month (PAM) or any employee thereof. PAM is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by Dr. Jill Campbell and The Pump Station & Nurtury.