Wholesome Dwelling: Combating Postpartum Despair

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Healthy Living: Combating Postpartum Depression

What you thought was the “baby blues” seems to be taking longer than expected, or maybe you don’t feel quite like them. This week we’re talking to new mothers and even fathers who may have postpartum depression.

“When it felt very difficult, I just wished I could go,” said Holly Cooper.

Bringing a baby is said to be one of the happiest times of your life.

“It is this way of thinking that can confuse new mothers who are often ashamed of not being happy.”

It’s not your fault and you are not a bad parent. You may have postpartum depression or PPD.

“It’s caused by hormonal fluctuations, lack of sleep, and other underlying diseases. It’s not a character flaw,” said Dr. Drew Oliveira, Regence Senior Medical Director.

Your friends or family may have told you it’s probably just the “baby blues”.

“Baby blues happens to almost everyone. They are tired, unable to sleep, have mood swings and may be afraid of looking after a baby for the first time,” said Oliveira.

If these feelings last for more than a few weeks and start to intensify, that is your red flag.

“Intense anger, fear, insomnia … it can take months afterward. Other things to look out for are withdrawal from others who are not interested in taking care of the baby and what we care about most worrying are thoughts or suicidal thoughts, “Oliveira said.

Cooper, a Seattle mother of three, said she got angry during her experience with PPD. She said she started feeling this about four months after giving birth to her first daughter.

“It felt very uncontrollable when the trouble came and I yelled at my little kids a lot and I knew it wasn’t normal, or it wasn’t me, or how I wanted to talk to my kids. But I couldn’t. ” I don’t tame it, “said Cooper.

She reached out to her doctor at the time but said they offered little to no help, so she relied on friends for emotional support.

“Looking back, I wish I had sought more help much sooner, be it therapy or medication,” said Cooper.

The second time her son was born, she received immediate help and was prescribed Zoloft to help manage the depressive episodes. Despite her initial reluctance to take medication, Cooper said it made a big difference.

“I was kind of on my high horse, like I could do everything right and resolve my postpartum depression. I can eat right, I can exercise, I can have special bonding time with my baby, I can work out time with my husband can try to do all the things that they say will help with PPD, but at the end of the day medication was the only thing that really closed the loop, “said Cooper.

Doctors say there are risk factors for PPD such as a family history of depression, complications with the newborn, and health problems.

One in ten men may also have a PPD episode, which is most common when their partner experiences similar symptoms, according to Oliveira.

Research shows that if left untreated, postpartum depression can lead to chronic depression. So doctors say don’t wait and seek help right away.

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