depression during and after pregnancy

Could It Be Postpartum Depression?

As I patted my pregnant, growing belly, I imagined what my daughter E would look like and what personality would emerge. I dreamed about dressing her in pretty clothes and kissing her rosy cheeks. The transition from working woman to stay-at-home mom was the supposed bliss I wanted.

In these moments, I never once considered how difficult it might be to adjust to being a mom – the disruptive schedule, the late-night feedings, the highs and lows of hormones. I didn’t realize how much caring for another would deplete me.

Looking back, I probably experienced postpartum depression (PPD).

But at the time, I didn’t detect the subtle signs. You see, I didn’t endure overwhelming depression, crazy mood swings, crying jags or suicidal thoughts.

Once I acclimated to the new daily schedule, I went through the motions. When she was hungry, I fed her. When it was time for a change, I diapered her. I simply adored and loved baby E but something was missing.

I mustered no enthusiasm or will to leave the house and take the baby out. I only left the house when my husband was home and could take me somewhere. I spent long days cooped up in my stuffy house, taking care of E, reading, cleaning and listening to the radio. Functioning but not living.

At the time, I couldn’t fathom that my lack of motivation and agoraphobia could be linked to PPD. Now, 12 years later, after reading more about it and hearing other moms’ stories, I know that was probably the case.

I want to share my story with other moms so that they know – you don’t have to have a complete mental break down to have PPD.

Here are some symptoms of PPD (just to name a few):

  • Feeling overwhelmed or guilty
  • Not feeling bonded to your baby
  • Feeling confusion or scared
  • Lacking patience
  • Feeling empty or numb (doing through the motions)
If you have any idea that you may be suffering from PPD, don’t delay:

  • Get support by calling 1-866-380-2229, 9 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday.
  • Attend a support group. Call 1-844-896-6367 for locations and times.
If you are having any thoughts of harming yourself or your baby, please call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.

Updated June 6, 2016

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