This Woman Didn’t Notice the Signs of Postpartum Depression
A lot of people firmly believe that they can spot the early signs of postnatal depression as soon as it manifests, however, this cannot be further away from the truth. In fact, up to 20% of women may miss all of the signs and never get help. This mom was one of them.
The common belief
What do you picture when you hear the words “postpartum depression”? For an average person, the answer would be a mother who does not feel enough love for the baby, who cries the whole day, who cannot bring herself to care for the child she gave birth to and tries to avoid holding it. Well, while most of these symptoms can be attributed to some of the women suffering from postnatal depression, it is not always the case.
The personal story
Tova Leigh, an online blogger, has shared her story that we could all learn from. It was quickly shared by many and is definitely worth reading. Essentially, she shows how postnatal depression can be the exact opposite of what most people imagine.
Suffering from this disorder can cause a mother not be able to ever separate from her child since this is what happened to Tova Leigh – she was so overprotective of her child that she missed months of sleep because she felt that she should never be further away from her child for more than a couple of minutes at a time and she should always be there to protect her.
She was so obsessed that in the mornings she was happy when her daughter woke up because it meant that she no longer needed to pretend she was asleep and she could go back to taking care of her child. Tova firmly believed that she is the only person in the world capable of taking care of the child properly.
The troubles that follow
Tova has admitted to feeling absolutely exhausted due to the lack of sleep and constant worrying. She just could not let go and relax a bit and soon started feeling that her mind was actually slipping. She started having troubles with remembering the previous day, everything felt unreal and all foggy. She was constantly scared, lonely, and desperate. However, she did not even believe she had an issue. After all, everybody talks about how hard it is to have a baby in the house. So, she never really knew what was wrong, and thus never tried to get help.
That was what postpartum depression looked like to Tova Leigh, who, thankfully, decided to share this experience with the rest of the world, so we can learn from it.
Why is it so hard to notice postpartum depression?
What’s even worse is that a newer study has shown that signs like these can be easily overlooked by midwives, doulas, and even physicians and they may lead to the mother with postnatal depression suffering alone, in silence.
This study, that was conducted by researchers from North Carolina State University, concluded that over 50% of moms who participated in the said study, have shown signs of postpartum mood disorder. And, unfortunately, out that number, roughly 20% did not share their symptoms with their caregivers – either due to ignorance and not realizing that they suffered from it, or due to the fact that they felt shame because of how they felt.
How can you help?
The researchers have noticed that those women who had a lot of support by their family were more likely to notice and report their symptoms. So, if you know someone who has recently gone through childbirth, try to pay a bit more attention and notice some of the symptoms of postpartum depression and, if you notice them, talk to the person. Try to look for any bigger changes in the general mood – if the person is experiencing rage issues, feeling of loneliness, and any noticeable changes in their eating patterns.
And, try to avoid chalking the issues up to normal pregnancy issues – if you feel like they are going through PPD just talk to them. Of course, some of the symptoms match normal days of early parenting but, if you are wrong, no harm is done, while, if they do suffer from depression, your help is greatly needed.
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