Toll-free: 800-898-6028 | OKC Local: 405-755-1999 | Tulsa Local: 918-447-7777 | Text: 405-310-8790 | Email

How do I Know if I have Postpartum Depression

For the past nine months, you’ve bravely weathered your pregnancy. The morning sickness, fatigue, growing belly, and the mood swings. Your brain has been working diligently to prepare you for motherhood, adjusting your hormone levels and reducing your gray matter. In essence, it has been remapping you to focus on the child you grew inside you to then bond with him or her after delivery. What it didn’t prepare you for, though, was what happens when you choose adoption. When, after birth, your baby joins their new family and you go home alone.

You sit in your room, rocking yourself back and forth and sobbing uncontrollably. Unbearable grief overwhelms you, and your arms ache for your baby. You scream in pain, wondering how you’ll ever make it through. Days go by. Then weeks. Then months. Life loses meaning. Purpose. You feel yourself slipping deeper and deeper beneath an invisible heavy, dark cloud of grief. The Internet says you have Postpartum Depression, but how you do know for sure?

Understanding Postpartum Depression

It’s important to note that approximately 1 in 7 women struggle through Postpartum Depression (PPD), and affects women from all walks of life. Those who choose adoption, and those who don’t. Women who are in their teens and women who are in their adult years. So, if you become pregnant, it doesn’t mean that you will develop Postpartum Depression afterwards. Your doctor can talk to you about any risk factors, and your likelihood either way.

But what is Postpartum Depression exactly? You may be familiar with the term, “baby blues.” This is a more mild form of PPD, which typically occurs anywhere from three to ten days after delivery, and subside after two to three weeks. Symptoms can include: mood swings, sadness, insomnia and irritability. Basically, your brain is trying to compensate for all the hormonal changes your body experienced from pregnancy and delivery. Combine this with stress, sleep deprivation and fatigue, and it’s enough for any woman to feel a bit under the weather. All in all, a pretty natural reaction that most women don’t need to worry about. Statistics show that 30 to 80 percent of all new mothers experience the baby blues.

However, when a birth mother doesn’t feel better after three weeks, she has a higher chance of experiencing Postpartum Depression. The symptoms can become more severe and long lasting.  If not treated early, they can even become unsettling and dangerous. Unfortunately, no one has been able to determine the real cause behind why women experience PPD following birth.

Symptoms of Postpartum Depression

Because PPD shares similarities to the baby blues, it’s all too easy to shrug off what you’re feeling and think the symptoms will resolve on their own. That the depression you’re enduring is normal. But this isn’t always the best course of action. Postpartum Depression is notorious for several symptoms that should never be ignored.

To name a few:

  • Withdrawing / isolating from friends and family
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Overwhelming fatigue or loss of energy
  • Severe anxiety or panic attacks
  • Feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Types of Postpartum Depression

Postpartum Depression can look a little different, depending on the person and the level of severity. It’s important to consult your doctor and seek guidance from a counselor to help you navigate which type you develop.

  • Major Depression – is most often mistaken as “the baby blues” or “clinical depression” because it shares many commonalities with both of those conditions. However, Postpartum Major Depression is more intense and typically disturbs your ability to live your day-to-day life. Signs and symptoms can develop either during pregnancy, after delivery or a year afterwards. They include: expressive crying, depressed mood or mood swings, fatigue, and suicidal ideation. If ignored, it can last months.
  • Psychosis – is extremely rare, and usually manifests within the first week of delivery. The signs and symptoms known to this type are very severe. They include: disorientation, hallucinations, paranoia and attempts to harm yourself or the baby. Postpartum Psychosis requires immediate treatment and attention because of the life-threatening implications it carries.

How Do I Know?

If you think you may be experiencing a form of PPD, it’s important to not self-diagnose based off what the Internet says. Instead, reach out to your primary care physician. You can do this either through your online patient portal or through scheduling an appointment. Your doctor will help you know the difference, to diagnose you accurately, and to offer remedies towards recovery.

Is there a way out? Yes, of course there is. It might seem impossible and difficult at first, but don’t give up. Keep fighting. Don’t be embarrassed to admit what you are feeling. There is no shame in seeking help from friends, family or medical professionals.

If you ever have thoughts of harming yourself, others or ending your life — don’t hesitate to reach out. Not sure who to turn to? Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for starters. They are free, confidential and available 24/7 over the phone at: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or on their webchat at: suicidepreventonline.org/chat.

Never forget: you are important. You are valued. You are loved.

Adoption Choices of Oklahoma

If you are currently in the process of adopting a baby and have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact, Adoption Choices of Oklahoma. You may visit our website here or call 405-794-7500 (Oklahoma City) or 918-982-6220 (Tulsa).

Support Adoption Choices

CrowdriseAdoption Choices, Inc. is partnering with Crowdrise, a fundraising website for nonprofits, to help our adoptive parents and birth parents with much needed financial assistance. We understand that expenses keep clients from fulfilling their dreams. Both with birth parents making a plan for adoption, and with adoptive parents growing their family. It is our mission to provide financial assistance through grants and scholarships, awarded annually in November, in honor of National Adoption Month. Funds assist adoptive parents with matching and placements, adoption finalization and helping birth mothers improve their lives through higher education — and much more.

However, we can’t do it alone. Please read up on our programs and donate money where you are able. Your donation will make a huge impact.

About the Author

Rachel RobertsonRachel Robertson is a published journalist, book editor, certified Publishing Specialist, and aspiring novelist. She graduated from Central Washington University (CWU) in March 2011, having found her writing voice within the Creative Nonfiction genre and grew to work as a freelance book editor for small presses all across the United States.

In June 2018, she embarked on an internship with Virginia Frank and came on board with Adoption Choices Inc., Not for Profit 501(c)(3), in December 2018. Between her mutual passion with adoption and surrogacy, and her own personal history with adoption, Rachel is excited to research and share topics each week that will spread awareness and better serve the faithful patrons of Adoption Choices Inc.

When Rachel isn’t haunting her local Starbucks or Barnes and Noble, she’s avidly pouring over her Writer’s Digest subscription or cozying up with a cup of tea and book. She currently resides in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her beloved wife and Border Collie.

 

———-

Sources:

“How Pregnancy Changes the Brain.” BrainFacts.org, www.brainfacts.org/brain-anatomy-and-function/body-systems/2018/how-pregnancy-changes-the-brain-022818.

“How Pregnancy Changes the Brain.” BrainFacts.org, www.brainfacts.org/brain-anatomy-and-function/body-systems/2018/how-pregnancy-changes-the-brain-022818.

“Postpartum Depression and the Baby Blues.” HelpGuide.org, 2 Aug. 2019, www.helpguide.org/articles/depression/postpartum-depression-and-the-baby-blues.htm.

“Postpartum Depression.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 1 Sept. 2018, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/postpartum-depression/symptoms-causes/syc-20376617.

Schimelpfening, Nancy. “Types of Postpartum Depression and How to Cope.” Verywell Mind, Verywell Mind, 27 Aug. 2019, www.verywellmind.com/postpartum-depression-types-1067039.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This