Motherhood

Postpartum Depression: 5 Things to Save a Life

Postpartum Depression: 5 Things to Save a Life www.herviewfromhome.com
Written by Maria Hatch

I am a mom of three. I am someone who is happy, full of life, spontaneous and loves making memories. I love to make people laugh even though it’s usually at my expense. I like this person. I miss this person. You see, recently I have been infected with postpartum depression and this person I once was has been hard to find. Often times I refer to postpartum depression as feeling trapped inside my own body. Every day it takes work, hard work, to live life as my mind feels tortured with obsessive fearful thoughts. Postpartum depression is not a matter of will but a chemical imbalance that needs to be taken seriously.

Postpartum Progress reports, “…more women will suffer from postpartum depression and related illnesses in a year than the combined number of new cases for men and women of tuberculosis, leukemia, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, lupus, and epilepsy.”

Women, we need to talk about this more.

We need to put our pride down and be okay with not being okay and tell other women about it because it just may save a life. Postpartum depression is like a cancer of the mind. We have got to stop pretending like it isn’t there or that we can will it away. We need help, we need each other. I wish I was writing this on the other side of it all, but I sit here gripped by this beast inside of me that is suffocating the life out of my lungs. I come back for a second as I write. I recognize myself in my writing and I breathe … ah, I’m still in here somewhere, I think to myself.

Mama, if you are on this same journey, I’m sorry. I am sorry that this pain is a part of your life story. It’s so hard, isn’t it? I can’t fix this for you. I can’t write up some magical formula that is going to make this all go away, but I can write to tell you that you are not alone and share some things that have helped save my life (literally). If I’m allowed to make requests, I hope that you do all of these things listed. Please.

Reach out to your doctor. It is so hard to reach out for help during this but it is so important to let your doctor know what is going on because he/she can be an advocate for you. Make an appointment to talk to them, list all of your concerns, and then listen to their advice. If you are like me, you aren’t going to believe a word they say but at least they know where you are at emotionally and mentally. The more they know, the more they can help you.

Reach out to family and friends. You don’t have to go around publicizing that you need to be in a looney bin but asking for help is the right thing to do (and probably the last thing you want to do). Let a few people know just how bad it is and then allow them to help (even if you don’t think it will be helpful). These are the people who love you and want what is best for you and your family. They will help be your voice of reason.

Reach out to a Counselor or Psychiatrist or a Postpartum Support Group (check your local hospital for more details). You are not alone and what you are experiencing is not uncommon. I know it feels the exact opposite right now, which is why this is a crucial step to getting better. PSI is an awesome online resource if you need someplace to get started.

Take some time away. I know it’s hard to get away for long periods of time, so let’s be realistic with this and take 10 minutes a day and do something that helps you release your anxiety. For me, it’s a walk or spending time reading on my back porch. What is it that you find relaxing and enjoyable? Go do it! Right now, you may not find enjoyment in anything so, instead, think about something that you used to enjoy (before being infected by this horrible disease) and go do it. I remember losing my love for coffee during my darkest time. I love coffee normally … like I have a relationship with it. When I was really suffering I never wanted it. In fact, there were a lot of things that were me that I didn’t like anymore. One day, I decided to try to enjoy a cup of coffee. I wanted to just see if the old me was still in there somewhere. I took a sip, wanted to fight enjoying it, but gave into my old self and just sat sipping coffee like I did before. The old me was still in there and I enjoyed that person for a while. Find something that you can do that will help you release some of this anxiety, even if only for a minute.

Maintain a healthy diet. I could barely eat and that brought a whole host of other problems which only increased my anxiety. I started losing a lot of weight, had digestive issues, dizziness, shaky, lightheaded, etc. Your body needs nutrition because stress tears it apart! As best as you can, try to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and protein. Drink TONS of water, especially if you are breastfeeding. Try to stay away from sugar during this time because sugar is basically the devil and right now you don’t need another “devil” attacking your body. If you don’t believe me, read what The Wellness Mama has to say.

Mama who is being suffocated by postpartum depression, if I could do one thing for you right now I would be squeezing you tight and letting you cry. This is a hard and brutal season of life. Postpartum depression is real and just because someone can’t understand what you are going through, doesn’t make it less serious. This is a serious illness and it is not because of something you have done or haven’t done. For whatever reason, this illness is a part of your journey and you are not alone. Not only are you not alone, but you are going to make it through this. I don’t normally do this, but because I know the darkness of the journey, please reach out if you need reminding that you are not alone or need reminding that this won’t last forever.

“Like clay in the hands of the potter, so are you in his hands.”

Jeremiah 18:6

About the author

Maria Hatch

My name is Maria. I’m a wife, mom, sister, daughter, friend, and excessive hair twirler. I’ve known the depths of grief and the height of God’s love and some time in there fell in love with Him, and I love to talk about it. On June 24, 2011, my life was forever altered and I’ve never been the same since. I invite you into my journey through my writings. Find my website at http://awomannamedfree.com/

  • From my heart to yours, Maria. <3 Thank you for sharing your story and your comfort with us. Even in the darkest of days, you reach toward the light and do what you can to offer hope to your sisters. I hope you realize just how incredibly powerful you are.

  • Boosker

    This is kind of a weird, small thing, but adult coloring books have definitely helped with my post partum anxiety. Also, running/jogging outside (once your organs feel like they’ll remain internal) and a chill out playlist that you listen to while watching Youtube nature/scenery videos.

  • Kate

    Thank you so much for sharing your story and tips for other mamas. I have some postpartum anxiety going on and the tips you shared are all things that have been helpful for me (talking to my doctor is next on the list). Depression in general, but especially postpartum depression, does not get talked about nearly as much as it needs to. Sending love and hopes that you keep getting closer and closer to the person you remember every day.

  • 200fingersandtoes

    I love seeing Mothers normalizing the need to address our mental health. I hope sharing this can help women recognize where they might be suffering and help them speak to someone. There is so much we can do to help maintain our well being if we are aware that we need to support our mind just like we support our body.

  • Really lovely post and so important for other women to know that they are not alone. Many women feel this and it is great to be able to describe that feeling so other women can relate and understand their emotions too. It takes a lot to share stories and I think your words are very helpful. I loved what you wrote about having the coffee and knowing you were still in there, that is so important. All the best with your journey and I am sure this will be so beneficial to many.

  • Stephanie Spor Gilbert

    Thank you for sharing your heart and these tips. So many people struggle with depression, but it’s almost viewed as a bad word…people going through it don’t want to mention it for fear they will be looked down upon. Well, you’re right. It’s a sickness. People need each other and need to reach out for help. Loved this!

  • Marissa Sweazy

    Thank you for sharing. Such a great message.

  • Stacey Philpot

    Those statistics are staggering and sobering. Thanks for sharing your story and increasing awareness.

  • I absolutely love seeing mamas brave enough, and strong enough to talk about this!! So often, postpartum disorders (or any female disorder) are swept under the rug, and not talked about. So, go you!! I know this post is going to help so many people going through the same thing, and I really think you’ve shared some great advice. Getting help is SO vital!! Thanks for sharing <3

  • Dicia

    Thanks for sharing your story. After both of my boys, I suffered with PPD. The time period after my youngest was the worse. I suffered with it for close to 2 years. It took me 1.5 years to scream that I needed help and actually went and got help. Once I got help (a combo of antidepressants, anxiety meds, and some me time), things started to look up and my life started to feel normal. Before I wasn’t sleeping, I had no motivation to do anything, go anywhere, or be around people, I just wanted to be left alone. I withdrew from people. But I got the help and at first, I forced myself to get out. Things started to go back to what my new normal should have been. So there is sunlight after the rain. Again, thanks for sharing and bringing awareness to PPD.

  • Treehouse Threads

    Thank you for sharing this, Maria! I had PPD after giving birth to both of my children. Two years later and I am still not fully brave enough to talk about it all. What I do know is that posts like this made me feel less alone and that there would be light.

  • Reinventing Julie

    Thank you for this article. I was fortunate to not suffer, but have friends that did. Your advice and gentle spirit reflects love and understanding on such a deeply personal issue for many.

  • Christin

    These acre great bits of advice. I suffered after my first pregnancy.

  • Jennifer Hamra

    Hi, Maria! I am glad you shared your PPD story. Last year, I had my 4th baby and a couple of months after the birth I had PPD and PTSD. It took me almost a year to heal. So you are right, it is important to talk about it, especially with other moms who can relate.

  • Being a new mama is hard as it is, but I couldn’t imagine dealing with PPD on top of it. Thank you for sharing this! I know it is so helpful to so many women!