When I first got pregnant, I researched so much on pregnancy. EVERYTHING about it. All the wrong and right turns it could take, just so I could be prepared. Reading books, taking physical and online prenatal classes, browsing the internet. All of these became part of my weekly routine. I remember listening to a chapter on one of the prenatal online courses that talked about postpartum depression; thinking to myself “that sounds terrible, I hope I never get to experience it”. It scared the hell out of me just thinking it could potentially happen to me. To give you an idea of what symptoms they mentioned in the course, I’ll share some of the following with you:
Postpartum depression might look like something like this:
1. Struggling emotionally and mentally day to day
2. Feeling like no one understands you
3. Feeling afraid to talk to someone about your feelings
4. Being self-critical when things didn’t go to plan
5. Feeling sad or blue disrupt your sleep patterns
6. Visits from family, or getting out and about with baby stress you or make you anxious
7. Being frightened or agitated without being able to tell why
8. Feeling completely overwhelmed
9. Crying because you feel sad or depressed
10. Feeling unhappy in general
11. Not wanting to do any activity
12. It has crossed your mind to hurt or harm yourself
13. You have had general feelings of anxiety without being able to put my finger on what’s got you worried
14. It’s hard to maintain a sense of humor, and been able to look on the bright side of things
11 out of 14 I experienced. Yeah, your read that right. ELEVEN out of FOURTEEN and it felt so real because it was. It was freightening. I felt like a completely different person. What’s worse is that I did not realize I had PPD until months into it.
The first I took my baby to the pediatrician I remember they had me fill out a form where they would basically test my emotional state. I didn’t pass. They did ask me a few questions after that and made me re-do the sheet. Once again, I did not pass. As I was trying not to break into tears, the Dr. said she would check on me again on my baby’s next appointment. This should have been a huge red flag to her. Although I knew she felt concerned by her face while speaking to me, the only thing she did was tell me to take it easy.
A few weeks had passed, and I started to convince myself that I had baby blues which can be confused with PPD.
I started seeing an acupuncturist, filled my home with essential oils everywhere. Diffusers and my acupuncturist seemed to be my best friends. Although I was lucky enough to never feel like I wanted to hurt myself nor my child, I was in pain; emotionally and physically.
So how can you deal with PPD?
1. Seek help and support – You will need it
Your partner or mother might not be enough in this moment although I highly recommend you tell them what is happening with you and how you are feeling. If you can afford it, find an expert in the matter and seek help. We tend to think that asking for help or needing it makes us weak, but I believe it’s quite the contrary. Asking for help makes you want to be a stronger version to yourself and your family. It means you are able to recognize what you need in your life in order to thrive.
2. Essential oils
Essential oils were a blessing to me at that time and they still are. They became my best friends. Look for which ones you could benefit from. Each oil has different and unique properties. Some of them are even blends that can be extremely beneficial. You want to look for those oils that will set you mood to be emotionally stable so that you are able to manage challenges.
*Tip: When you’re traveling, take the oils with you. There is a really high probability you might need them.
You will need one for the room you are usually in. Diffusers are the best add on to your home- even when there’s not an obvious need for it like being depressed. They will make your entire home smell like whatever oil you use in it. You will feel more balanced and in harmony.
It really did help me through the rough and tough and hopefully you can find someone that can help you too. I’m no expert in the matter but I did know that the needles were places on points/nerves where my body would relax and therefore have a better day. I had never tried acupuncture before in my life, but during PPD I was in no position to say no to anything that could potentially be helpful and take off some of the stressed I had accumulated for I don’t really know how long.
5. Move your body
Exercise always boosts your mood and now is the time to get up and do something, anything, really. Even if it doesn’t make you feel better all day, it will make you feel better for at least part of the day. Move in ways you enjoy like maybe going on a walk. Leaving your home and getting some sun (if any) will help you feel much better. I don’t know if it’s the sunlight, the breeze, the plants and trees, the birds that sing, or all of it together, but being in contact with nature, for some reason, always seems to make us feel better.
Last but not least, I have to say you are not alone. You are allowed to speak about your postpartum depression, and you are allowed to find support. Reach out when you need to.
Please remember: If you are experiencing any of these symptoms the PSI (Postpartum Support International) is an international organization available for you 24/7. They have a hotline to call and a number to text so you can get in touch with a real person. What’s even better, is they can also assist in finding postpartum support in your area.
I really hope that by me talking about my personal experience with PPD and how I dealt with it, I can encourage you to seek help and support when need it. It is common for mothers to have these symptoms in postpartum depression, but it’s also VERY important that we do something to overcome them. For your wellbeing and your family’s. You deserve it.
With much love,