For most women, pregnancy is a time of joyful anticipation. For nine months, expectant mothers daydream about what their baby will look like, about cuddling and feeding the baby, about how wonderful life will be with the baby. I know I did. When I was pregnant with my first child, I thought about beautiful things every day. I couldn’t wait to hold my little bundle in my arms. Life was going to be perfect.
But once baby had arrived, reality unfolded a completely different scenario. Sure, I was overjoyed to meet my baby. But I wasn’t happy. I didn’t feel like cuddling. Each day seemed to go on forever. I didn’t… enjoy being a mom.
I thought things like, “Is this normal? What’s wrong with me? Why do other new moms seem so happy? What am I doing wrong?” I never seemed to feel better.
It wasn’t until I delivered my second child (and had a completely different postpartum experience) that I realized that my first postpartum experience was a difficult one. Although I was never diagnosed, I believe that I was suffering through postpartum depression.
If you are a postpartum mom and are feeling down, lost, uncomfortable, sad, hopeless, or just unhappy, you might be suffering through some PPD (postpartum depression), too. (Please note: I am not a doctor and none of the information on this post should be considered as professional advice. Please consider all of this information at your own risk. The information shared here is purely out of my own personal experience).
Here are some signs of PPD:
According to the mommy-favorite book “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” signs may include:
- crying and irritability
- sleep problems
- eating problems
- persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and helplessness
- an inability or lack of desire to care for yourself or your newborn
- social withdrawal
- excessive worry
- aversion to your newborn
- feeling all alone
- memory loss
This is a pretty large and comprehensive list. But what I’d like to do is share more specific, real-life examples gathered from my own experience. PPD is not easy to talk about. But if you’re reading this post, perhaps these examples will be helpful.
Here are seven signs and symptoms of postpartum depression that I experienced.
- When people would ask me, “don’t you just love being a mom?” I would say something like “oh yeah, it’s great.” But I didn’t really feel that way. In my head, I was saying things like, “no. I hate it. I don’t like being a mom. It’s hard. I can’t do it.”
- I had no desire to cuddle with my baby. I don’t remember ever just randomly scooping up my baby just to cuddle out of love and affection.
- I hardly ever smiled or laughed.
- I was beyond exhausted – only getting broken sleep and experiencing hallucinations.
- I daydreamed about putting baby in the car seat and just driving away – just “escaping” somehow.
- I felt stuck. I felt like this day-in, day-out job of caring for baby was torturous. I didn’t enjoy it, it was just something I had to do.
- I felt guilty. “What’s wrong with me? I’m a terrible mom. I suck. I don’t deserve this child.”
These are some of the main signs and symptoms of postpartum depression that I experienced. If you are feeling similar things, you may be suffering through some PPD.
So what’s the next step?
First, tell someone how you’re feeling. Tell anyone – your husband, mom, sister, grandma, friend. Let someone know what you’re going through. This the very first, most important step. Talk. Share how you’re really doing. It’s not easy! I know this, mama. It’s very difficult to talk about it. But be brave. You can do it.
Next, let your listener help you determine the next steps. Should you visit your pastor? Schedule an appointment with a counselor? See a doctor? Let your listener help you. They care about you, and will want to help you in any way they can.
During my PPD journey, I never took the next steps. I was barely able to share with my husband how I was really feeling, and I never spoke with a pastor, counselor, or doctor. Taking these steps would have helped me out; I am sure of that. Speaking out and getting help will be good for you, mama. Share how you feel. You can do it!
Most importantly, pray. Ask Jesus to carry this enormous burden for you. He was the one who brought relief for me.
If it is determined that you are going through PPD, the next part in your journey will be learning how to cope and recover. I’d like to discuss that in another post. For now, I’d like to give you a hug and help you determine how you really feel. If you are experiencing any of the signs and symptoms of PPD mentioned above, talk to someone about it. Then determine what to do next.
I’m so sorry you are feeling the way you do. I’ve been there, and my heart aches that you are there now. May I pray for you? I will ask that Jesus would send you His love, peace, and grace. I will ask that He would help you find loving people who will listen and walk through this journey with you. I will pray that through his grace, Jesus would lift you from the woes and fill your heart with joy. Jesus loves you, mama. I do too! Hang in there.
Feel free to leave a comment or contact me. Have you gone through PPD before? What were some of your signs? How did you step toward help and recovery?