What I wish they told me about PostPartum
You find out you’re expecting a baby. This beautiful little human that you’ve literally created inside of you. You grew their heart, their lungs, their brain, all the way down to their tiny little toes. You spend nine months anticipating their arrival. You’ve probably chosen a name for him or her… A name which will be their title in this world. If you’re anything like me, you researched countless names and their meanings and when you finally found that one, it seems even more real. You imagine and plan their future. What will they love? What will they hate? Will they want to be a doctor? An artist? You have all these plans for how you will and won’t raise them. You’re positive you will raise “the most perfect” human and they, with no doubt, will be better than you ever were. From the moment you found out you were pregnant, you knew you weren’t alone anymore. The comfort in doing everything while your little hunny is right there with you is something unexplainable. You can’t wait for your due date to come just to see their face, to hug them and hold them.
The time comes and labor has you feeling like” super woman.” Your body has just created and birthed a life. The next 48 hours you’ll have nurses and doctors constantly checking on you and your babe and helping you with whatever you need. After those 48 hours, they send you home. Then it hits you. You’re alone, with your baby. A little human that you hardly know. You know you love them but who are they? Now what? You are now a mother. No other job is more important than this one. You are now responsible for a life, without the constant help from a nurse or a doctor. You can give them a call with any questions but other than that, this is your life now. Finally, you realize that you are not the most important person in the world anymore. Your wants and needs come second, you probably won’t shower for a few days at a time. You won’t have the time to do your hair or go grab a coffee really quickly. I mean you can, but pack your baby up and your luggage of a diaper bag you’ve got to carry around now. Work and school have to wait. You will achieve your goals but not when you thought you would. Don’t worry, it will happen. Your baby cries constantly, what could be wrong? They ate, they’re clean? You don’t understand and you won’t. Days pass and it gets heavier, this dead weight of a blanket that just seemingly took over your entire body. The love for your baby is so strong but not stronger than this feeling. You feel like you lost yourself. Your life changed the moment you came back home from that hospital. Surely you can call one of your friends, just vent to them. They’ll get it. The friends that told you they’d be there for you and your baby. But why aren’t they answering the phone? They’re busy, they’ll make time for you, right? I know, you don’t understand why you’re crying all the time and it feels like it will never get better. You can’t seem to escape this. All the advice the doctors have you but they missed this part didn’t they? The part where your entire life makes such a drastic change that you instantly fall into one of the deepest depressions of your life.
This is postpartum depression.
A stage of depression that impacts mother’s after they’ve given birth.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, up to 20% of women who have given birth will suffer from postpartum symptoms. In the US alone, this would mean approximately 600,000 women yearly.
The CDC also states that more women will suffer from PPD and related illnesses in one 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. So why isn’t this talked about more? Why isn’t preventive treatment mandatory for mothers who’ve just given birth? According to Post Partum Progress, only 15% of the woman actually receive the treatment necessary for PPD. Whether its lack of communication from mother to the healthcare provider or poor screening, it is a huge problem. Many famous celebrities have come forward with their PPD stories as well. Such as Carrie Underwood and Hayden Panettiere, both of which have gone public with their disease and treatment. So don’t think this only impacts mother’s with less than ideal situations. It does not discriminate.
If you are expecting or know someone that is, make sure you talk to them about this. Listen to your mom friend if they call and want to vent. Take the baby for an hour so mom can shower. A support system goes a long way. And mom will appreciate it. Be patient and willing to learn the signs and symptoms. You might save a life.
Brittni Eccleston is a wife, mother, Hufflepuff, and medical assistant. She has a passion for cardiology and mental health. Brittni is a podcast host for the show Tea & Bee, a mental health and mommy podcast she runs with her best friend. Brittni is currently in school to become a cardiology nurse and is making waves to change the world. Follow her on Twitter.