I’ve had this blog post sitting as a draft for almost three months now because this post hits very close to home and I wasn’t sure I was ready to divulge such a private part of my life. However, after prayerful consideration, I decided that if this post helps just one person, it will be worth it to me. Krissy touched on post-partum depression in an earlier post, but I want to talk a little more about it.
First of all, how can you tell the difference between “baby blues” and full-on post-partum depression? WebMD offers a comprehensive explanation on baby blues versus post-partum depression here, but basically baby blues only last 1 to 2 weeks immediately after childbirth, while post-partum depression slowly builds, peaking at around 3 or 4 months after birth.
Unfortunately, post-partum depression and the so-called “baby blues” carry a stigma and keep many women from seeking the help and treatment they need. Fortunately, the stigma is slowly starting to disappear, thanks to celebs like Vanessa Lachey and Alanis Morrisette (who speak out in this ABC News segment) and real-life women blogging about their struggles with both the baby blues and post-partum depression. I admit that I was one of those women who didn’t get help right away even though I needed it. The reasons for not seeking help were numerous…I felt like I would be judged, I felt that I was a mentally-stable person before pregnancy so what I was experiencing wasn’t that bad, I felt that I should be able to handle it.
Thank goodness for my amazing husband and some amazing friends who helped me through a very dark time in my life and encouraged me to get help. Even if I didn’t want to admit it, I was suffering from post-partum depression and needed professional help to get me through it. It was amazing how much better I felt after finally admitting I was suffering from post-partum depression and started taking medication.
I just want to implore you to ask for help. Even if you think it’s just the baby blues, there’s no reason to suffer in silence. Talk to a friend, take a coffee break, get out of the house, do whatever you need to clear your head. You don’t have to be super mom, you just need to be the best mom to your baby and you can only do that by taking care of yourself.