I recently gave birth to my only baby boy, and I somehow felt everything change after that. Instead of feeling excited and happy about the life ahead, I immediately felt extreme sadness, anxiety, irritability, and mood swings. Though my doctor told me that it was normal to have baby blues, I‘m entirely sure it wasn’t like that because the emotional dilemma took longer than expected. There’s something about my condition that told me that my depression wasn’t going anywhere.
What Is Postpartum Depression?
Science explains postpartum depression, also known as postnatal depression, as a condition that comes from hormonal changes, fatigue, and psychological adjustment that relates to motherhood. It gives new moms like me low energy that causes a long-term type of depression. The symptoms of the mental condition include feeling sad, tearful, worried, anxious, and stressed.
How PPD Affected Me
Postpartum depression affected me in a way that I found myself having trouble connecting with my newborn child. It was not that I didn’t want to be with him or anything. It just felt like I have this guilt of not going to be a good mom. I am sure I was ready to experience motherhood, but the emotional and psychological states I have right now tells me it was different. Though I was informed that postpartum depression could potentially escalate into something like suicide or have thoughts of hurting my baby, I’m pretty sure I haven’t reached that stage either.
After birth, primary care is mostly focused on the baby’s health. Well infant visits are more frequent than a mother’s postpartum visit to the obstetrician. To address this gap, Maria Muzik, MD, MSC, and co-authors emphasized the role of the pediatrician in screening postpartum depression: “Implementing a standard PPD screening using EPDS (Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Screen) is very feasible in a busy pediatric primary care practice if local and online resources are identified and a clinic workflow is established ahead of implementation.”
How PPD Affects My Relationship
After I gave birth, I felt like I was also losing the relationship I had with my husband because he didn’t seem to understand my situation. There was this one time that he told me to snap out of it, but how was I supposed to? I would want to get out of this condition as much as he wanted me to, but I couldn’t. Our relationship was drifting apart, and all I can think of was getting divorced. It was the most straining times of our marriage because there was anger, confusion, guilt, arguments, and uncertainties. Due to my irrational thoughts, I also lost my interest in intimacy. It was not just about sex, but rather all those small connections we had such as touch, hugs, and kisses.
How My Husband Assisted Me With My PPD
After I went to seek help from a therapist, my husband and I fully understood what postpartum depression was all about. Due to the diagnosis, my relationship experienced a drastic change, and my husband became so considerate of my situation. He started to avoid putting additional pressure on my emotional and psychological condition. He avoided giving unsolicited advice and managed to gather the right things to say. He became so gentle in delivering his words and maintained calm actions. It was an inspiring moment that I encouraged myself to get better, not only for my husband but my newborn baby as well.
Even men are at risk of postpartum depression. Janice H. Goodman, PhD, RN, CS, finds that a “strong correlation of paternal postpartum depression with maternal postpartum depression has important implications for family health and well‐being.”
A study by Dr. O’Hara, Gorman, PhD, and co-authors suggest that “IPT is an efficacious treatment for postpartum depression. Interpersonal psychotherapy reduced depressive symptoms and improved social adjustment, and represents an alternative to pharmacotherapy, particularly for women who are breastfeeding.”
My mental condition was a traumatic experience where I came to the point of giving up. But with the love and understanding that my husband gave me, I managed to flip the other side of its story.