Most women expect that they will adjust to the arrival of their new baby fairly easily. However, for about 10-28% of mothers, the birth or adoption of a baby may mark a change in their lives which is quite distressing. They may feel a range of emotions from numbness and sadness to irritability, confusion and anxiety. These feelings may be an indication of postpartum depression (PPD).
PPD is often characterized by despondency, emotional instability, tearfulness, feelings of inadequacy and the inability to cope. It may occur shortly after the arrival of a new baby or many months later. For some women, symptoms may begin in pregnancy
PPD is not to be mistaken with the transient “blues” experienced by many women following childbirth. The “blues” usually only last about 3 to 7 days, and go away without treatment. PPD, on the other hand, is more than a depressed mood and it continues for an extended period of time.
If you think you may have postpartum depression, get help. You cannot deal with this on your own. There is help that will make a difference and you need to talk to your doctor, public health nurse or midwife.
A few other things you can do in your life to hep you feel better are:
- Find a support system of people who understand how you feel
- Find some time for yourself every day when you get go for walk, call a close friend or go for coffee by yourself without the baby
- Be sure to get enough sleep, eat well and get out for some exercise regularly
- Be sure to talk about how your feeling, no matter how silly, sad or angry you are feeling
- Attend a local parenting group in your area. The best way to overcome PPS is to share stories with other mothers who are mostly going through the same situations and feelings
The first step to helping yourself is talking to someone. If you think you have depression, contact your doctor, your public health nurse, or a postpartum support group. For more information or support groups in your area please call The Pacific Post Partum Society 604-255-7999 or visit their website at www.postpartum.org.