Have you ever wondered what is feels like to suffer from postpartum depression? Are your signs and symptoms of postpartum depression? Read on to find out more.
What is postpartum depression?
For some mothers, childbirth doesn’t come with the expected joy. It confuses them when they feel the exact opposite. But this is not uncommon. Anywhere between 40 to 80 percent of new moms experience what is known as “baby blues”.
This is signified with an emotional state of fearfulness, worry, general unhappiness, and fatigue. There is also a lot of self-doubt which results from these feelings. Baby blues typically starts within a few days post delivery. They go away within a couple of weeks on their own.
However, in case the symptoms do not go away even after two weeks, or you see them getting more intense, it can be a case of postpartum depression (PPD). This is indeed a serious condition. About 10% of women have been seen to suffer from PPD.
6 Unexpected Symptoms Of PPD
There are a number of symptoms associated with PPD that a new mother can experience. It can be different for each person. Each person can have completely different set of symptoms. However, there are certain symptoms that can catch you completely off guard.
Here we will look at 6 symptoms of PPD that can come as a surprise to new mothers.
This is the one symptom that takes most new moms who are suffering from PPD by great surprise. There is extreme irritability at seemingly small incidents. It seems as if everything around you starts to make you angry. You can feel anger and irritation for things related to your partner, your baby, or older children.
The level of irritation is much greater than what you have ever felt before. There is the willingness to yell at people and throw things. You feel a maddening rage without any apparent reason. You may be aware that this is irrational behaviour. However, this doesn’t stop you from feeling this deep anger.
As it is post childbirth, sleep becomes an impossibility. But most moms sleep when their baby sleeps. In PPD, you can’t sleep. You would think that with all the exhaustion of being a new mother, you should find it easy to sleep. But sleep becomes impossible when you are suffering from PPD.
Even if you do eventually fall asleep, you wake up suddenly and find it impossible to back to sleep. It is especially difficult for new moms who are anyway tired and exhausted. Not being able to sleep even when you get the opportunity can make you extra fatigued. This can add to the irritation.
When you picture a woman suffering frpm postpartum depression, you think about a strong emotions. There is a lot of tears, sadness, and rage. But what surprises women suffering from PPD is the sheer numbness that they feel. They feel nothing at all.
There is only a feeling of emptiness and dullness. You carry on with your day going through the usual motions. If you are doing everything you are supposed to do, but there is no feeling in you. You can also feel a disconnect from the things that used to interest you before. There is a feeling that you are not really living your life, rather looking at it happen from a distance. This feeling of not really being a part of your own life, can be scary. Especially for a new mom. If you experience such a sensation, it definitely needs consulting with your doctor.
4. Scary thoughts
We all think that we are the masters of our thoughts. What we fail to realize is the power of our minds to think about things that you don’t want it to. These are generally what are referred to as scary thoughts. These are intrusive thoughts that you don’t want to have in the first place.
Having such intrusive thoughts can be very scary for a new mother. These continue to haunt your mind and make you upset and anxious all the time. The thoughts generally start out as “What if” questions. You keep thinking about the possibilities of awful things that can happen. You can also become obsessed about doing something terrible to your baby or yourself.
These thoughts can turn your days into a living nightmare. Having terrible and scary thoughts does not mean that you have become an awful person, or a bad mother. It may be a sign of a case of postpartum anxiety or postpartum OCD. Consult your doctor immediately and ask for recommended counselors and support groups.
5. Brain Fog
Having PPD can make your brain not function to its full capacity. This means you can have a hard time remembering everyday things You also find it difficult to remember the right words or common words.
For a new mother, multitasking is very important. But, with PPD, you find it very difficult to apply yourself to several tasks at one time. You feel your brain getting all clouded and are unable to think clearly, may even start feeling less intelligent than before you gave birth. You are not alone in this feeling. Most mothers suffering from PPD have reported feeling this foggy feeling.
6. Physical Symptoms
When we think of PPD, we think that it only affects the minds. This is not correct. It also has physical manifestations. New moms suffering from PPD have complained about nausea, headaches,back aches, and upset stomach. They have also reported panic attacks.
The panic attacks can also have symptoms similar to a heart attack. This can be doubly scary and unexpected. Apart from impacting how they are feeling, PPD can also affect you physically through these ways. If you notice sudden pains and aches that don’t seem to be caused by food poisoning or the flu, it just might be the physical symptoms of PPD. Consult your doctor if you feel the symptoms increasing in intensity.
Some Common Symptoms of Postpartum Depression
Here some common symptoms apart from the above that can help you detect a case of postpartum depression. If you have given birth in the last 12 months, and are experiencing even a few of the below symptoms, it could be PPD.
- Inability to eat or eating excessively
- You feel hopeless. You feel like the situation will never get better.
- A feeling of being overwhelmed. You feel like you can’t handle being a mother ever.
- You cannot stop crying, even though there is no reason to be doing so.
- Guit at not being able to handle new motherhood
- You cannot concentrate or focus
- Feeling like your baby deserves better than you
- Wondering whether your baby would be better off without you.
- There is no feeling of being bonded with your baby.
- You can’t understand what is making you feel this way. There is general confusion. You feel scared all the time.
- You feel absolutely nothing. There is no sensation
- You feel defective and weak, start thinking of yourself as a failure.
- You feel disconnected with the people and things around you, suddenly feel as if you have nothing in common with everyone.
- Inspite of doing all the healthy things, you just can’t seem to get over the feeling of extreme sadness
- You may have thoughts of leaving everything and running away.
- Thoughts of harming yourself or ending your life have become a regular occurance
- You feel it in your guts that you are not quite all right, think you are going insane.
- You are afraid of the judgement you might face if you reach out for support or help, or you will lose your baby
If you feel you are having any or some of the above symptoms, call your doctor. You do not have to suffer alone. Waiting will not make things easier or make the symptoms go away. If anything, they will only get more intense.
Postpartum depression is treatable with professional help. Reach out to the right people before it becomes too severe. It is always best to reach out to your doctor if you think your are having these or other symptoms of postpartum depression or anxiety.
While PPD is very common, it is not normal. You don’t have to feel this way as a new mother, and there are effective treatments that can put you on the road to recovery. Talk to a professional, and find out the best path for treatment and recovery. Remember, there is no shame in asking for help.