05 Oct When is it More than the Baby Blues?
Postpartum hormonal surges take new moms on a wild ride. But then, combine that with lack of sleep, a healing body, and the demands of a newborn, and you can understand why new moms need so much support.
Studies show that most new moms experience some degree of Baby Blues, which last for up to two or three weeks and cause a zig-zag of conflicting moods, including sadness, irritability, impatience, and even anger.
Post-Partum Depression: Get the Support You Deserve
However, after three weeks, persisting low moods, extreme mood swings, inexplicable grief, anxiety, or even rage are all signs you may have postpartum depression. The Fertility Center of Dallas team is here for you, even if you’ve recently “graduated” from your fertility specialist. We have an array of support options ready to recommend as needed.
For several reasons, women who’ve been diagnosed with infertility or used fertility treatments to get pregnant are at higher risk of developing postpartum depression (PPD).
- Previous history of depression or anxiety. Women requiring fertility treatments often experience intense emotional impacts, including depression, anxiety, grief, and the ups and downs of failed treatment cycles. This history makes you more prone to feeling the high highs and low lows of postpartum life.
- Shame around “shadow” emotions. You may also experience shame or guilt about your so-called “shadow emotions.” You worked so hard and invested so much in treatments you should be filled with nothing but joy and gratitude, right? As a result, it can feel embarrassing to admit you struggle with depression, sadness, or resentment/anger, which are a normal part of the emotional spectrum when the demands of a baby take over your life.
- You have multiples. Women using fertility medications have increased chances of a multiples pregnancy. And, not surprisingly, the birth creates a more dramatic decrease in hormones, often heightening the symptoms of Baby Blues of postpartum depression.
- You’re 40 years old or more. Age is another risk factor for developing PPD is your age. Both younger and older women have higher rates of PPD. If you are 40+ and have twins, your risk of PPD is even higher.
You may feel your fertility support community is no longer available because you have a baby. This may be true, and it may not. It depends on the group. If, however, your fertility support group has a hard time now that you’re a mom, it’s time to reach out to a local new Mom’s group and a post-partum depression support group to know you are not alone.
Commons Signs of PPD
Here are the five most common signs of postpartum depression, all of which continue beyond the first two to three weeks after your baby’s birth. Contact your fertility specialist or OB/GYN ASAP if you notice the following in yourself or a new mom you love.
1. Uncontrollable crying
You will cry lots and lots the first year and years of your child’s life – from both joy and inexpressible frustration. However, women with PPD cry continually and consistently and often don’t even know why they are crying.
Often, the bouts of crying may mingle with rapid and uncontrollable mood swings – like a pendulum that keeps moving from extreme anger, worry/fear, sadness, and so on.
2. Hopelessness and depression
In addition to feeling depressed, women with PPD often feel entirely hopeless. Despite what they read, learn, and know, they truly believe there is no way out of the black hole. It’s terrifying and depleting. If this is you, you may also feel you are a bad mother or should never have become a mother.
3. Thoughts or fantasies of hurting yourself or your baby
In the mental health field, thoughts like this are called “suicidal ideation.” You may fantasize or imagine just giving up and ending your own life and/or your baby’s life. Or, you may have thoughts like, “I just wish I was dead.”
This is that depression we mentioned above and hopelessness at its very worse. There is support all around you, so please reach out. If you feel too ashamed or scared to tell your partner or family, call or text the national PPD hotline as a first step – 800-944-4773.
4. Uncontrollable fear, anxiety, or stress
You may feel so anxious you are crippled and unable to make a decision. You analyze and overanalyze every decision and continuously feel you’re doing everything wrong. This and/or accompanying depression makes it hard to focus on anything, so you may begin feeling like you’re a failure in every aspect of your life – above and beyond mothering.
5. Insomnia or sleeping too much
The fluctuating hormones, new interrupted sleep patterns, and the extreme emotions contributing to postpartum depression frequently cause insomnia or a need to sleep all the time. Both are an issue because not getting enough sleep, or oversleeping makes it impossible for you to get the nourishment and care you need to get back in balance.
Never Be Afraid to Reach Out for Help
We cannot emphasize enough that you are not alone. Those of us who work as fertility specialists or OB/GYNs are 100% dedicated to getting our patients the help they need and deserve when experiencing PPD. Often, the person in the midst of PPD is unaware, so they need loved ones to help them see they could use extra support.
Contact the Fertility Center of Dallas if you notice any signs of PPD, and we’ll help you get the help you need to turn this corner. We promise that a brighter and balanced future is up ahead.