It's 9am and I'm sitting here preparing my blog entry and I have my coffee and cookies and I'm ready to go. I'm ready to start talking about what you don't want to talk about, and that's ok. I'll do the talking for you. First thing's first, what *is* postpartum depression? The simplest way for me to give my non-expert definition is: just feeling overall shitty ALL THE TIME and not having a reason WHY. Here is how the Mayo Clinic lists the symptoms.
After I started looking into it, I could recall all the times I just told myself I was having a bad day, then a bad week, then a bad month, then a bad year. And, let's face it, this whole mix of symptoms seems just like normal stuff, but when you consider the absence of WHY you feel these things, you realize you're in trouble. There is no why.
At our breaking point, my husband told me that I wasn't the woman he married and he was 100% right. So, I got to thinking, what happened to that woman? Where did she go? I could remember the woman before kids, the woman who had fun and didn't harp on things, the woman who didn't spend sleepless nights thinking about negative things over and over and over and over. Where had she gone and could I get her back? I took to Facebook groups I was part of to ask some questions, it was the best option for me to ask strangers rather than people I actually knew, because I was embarrassed. The response I got from each group was immensely supportive and I realized I was FAR FROM ALONE. So, why don't we talk about it more often? Why isn't there more emphasis on this during our postpartum visits? With my OBGYN I was given a questionnaire to fill out during my first PP visit, but for those of us who do not experience PPD until months down the road that questionnaire is pretty much pointless. Why don't they extend PP visits to 4 or 5 months? Why isn't it talked about more during your prenatal visits to help get you acquainted with it so that when/if it does happen then you can be more prepared? Postpartum depression doesn't necessarily mean that you want to harm your children or that you feel so disconnected to them that you fail to bond. What happens when your PPD isn't directed towards your children, but towards your spouse? This can cause a lot of heartbreak and ruin for a marriage or relationship that once thrived. When no one knows what's going on and your significant other just thinks you've suddenly turned bi-polar and you keep trying to justify your negative feelings and actions by pulling shit out of your ass it can get pretty ugly. I read an info graphic that said 1 out of 8 women will develop PPD and only 15% of those women will seek help. This is probably because they have no clue that is what they are suffering from.
It's no matter to brush off. Even if you THINK it's something that is affecting you then you should seek help. Some take medications to help, others go to a therapist or counselor to talk things through, and some do both. It's up to you, just don't do NOTHING. Talk to your partner, tell them how you are feeling and that PPD is a very real possibility, even if it has been months or even a year. If gone untreated it can last for a very long time and lead to a deepening depression. It can also compound with additional pregnancies. Get informed, but don't use it as a crutch. Use it as a way to empower yourself and become a better person, even better than you were before. You will find that even your relationships will improve, with everyone, not just your significant other.
And always remember, you aren't alone.