Although welcoming your baby into the world is supposed to be a joyful event, giving birth can bring you through a roller coaster of emotions. You’ll be happy and anxious at the same time. What you may not expect, however, is depression. Postpartum depression can cause extreme feelings of sadness and anxiety, and might affect your care for your baby. Here are some myths that you might believe about postpartum depression.
1. It’s Just Sadness
The thing about postpartum depression is that it isn’t just a trivial feeling of sadness. While sadness is an emotion that most human beings face, depression is so severe it can affect with your daily life and how you can care for your baby. It affects your eating, sleeping, concentration and your everyday energy levels. You might even feel overwhelmed to the point where you think, “I can’t do this anymore.” While sadness over something comes and goes, postpartum depression lasts from one to seven days, and can go on if left untreated.
2. Postpartum Depression Goes Away If I Leave It Alone
Postpartum depression isn’t a choice. Unlike choosing what to wear today, one doesn’t choose to wake up in the morning to wear a smile, or put on a pleasant mood to face the day. When people tell you to “Just be happy”, or “Get a grip”, most of the time it’s making the situation worse.
If you have postpartum depression, you should get help to recover from it. A healthcare professional who specialises in postpartum depression will be able to help you out better. Look for a support group. It does help to know that others can be going through the same experience as you.
3. Postpartum depression is my fault
If you experience postpartum depression, you may have guilt over your feelings. You may even blame yourself for this “phase” you’re going through. The truth is, postpartum depression is never your fault.
Postpartum depression can be caused by a few factors, including the sudden drop in certain hormone levels after birth and a highly stressful delivery. It can also be influenced by your own psychological makeup. Postpartum depression is not caused by just you feeling sad, and it can’t be controlled by willpower.
What should I do if I suspect I have postpartum depression?
See a specialist in postpartum depression, or mental health professional. While you may not think you need it, it’s an important part of your recovery process. It’s not a sign that you’re crazy, or that you’re broken in any way. You just need a little boost in your journey to recovery. You can also join a support group. You’ll be surprised how helpful it is to hear other stories which are similar to yours.
In any case, you should look for help. Without treatment, the depression could last for a year or more. It’ll affect your relationship with your baby, and how you care for him or her.
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