What should you do if you think you are experiencing postpartum depression

Thank you to March of Dimes for sponsoring this important information.

I thought getting out of the house would work. My family piled in the car and drove to McDonald’s to let the kiddos play so my husband and I could talk. A few weeks before, my ObGyn had asked me to stop taking medication for postpartum depression because of concerns about side effects during pregnancy. I agreed because I wanted what was best for the baby. But then, I had stopped answering my friends phone calls and eventually had stopped enjoying a long shower and just wanted to sleep all the time.

That day, I listened to the kids laugh as I sat with my back to the playground. I began to cry, and the crying turned into sobbing. My husband gently held my hands and suggested that I talk to someone about how I was feeling. I calmed down enough to excuse myself to the restroom to wash my face. My children were joyful and my husband was so kind and supportive. Why was I feeling so absolutely lost and sad?

As I returned to join him at the table, I noticed Dr. Frey on the other side of the playplace. He had just given a talk to our MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group and had been open and encouraging about many topics in motherhood, including getting help if you have PPD (postpartum depression). I sat down and told my husband. Brian encouraged me to go and say ‘hello’. Dr. Frey was the father of a dear friend, after all. Surely, he would understand and maybe have ideas.

I walked over and his welcoming smile brought me to tears. Through sobs, I shared how I had been feeling. He suggested that I tell my ObGyn immediately. He gave me his phone number and told me he would be checking on me through his daughter, Michelle. His kindness was exactly what I needed – right there in the McDonald’s playplace.

The next morning, I called my ObGyn and she put me on an alternative medication right away. Within a week, I was slowly coming out of the fog. I shared what was happening with another dear friend, Renee. She began texting me every day. Sometimes it was something encouraging and sometimes it was something funny. She would stop by and bring flowers or a chai tea latte, never expecting conversation.

Did you know that mental health issues are the most common complication of pregnancy and childbirth? 1 in 8 women who recently gave birth experiences symptoms of postpartum depression.

It is so important for us to support one another if you think you may be experiencing postpartum depression.

Signs and symptoms of postpartum depression include:

  • Changes in your feelings 
        • Feeling depressed most of the day every day
        • Feeling shame, guilt, or like a failure
  • Changes in your everyday life
        • Having little interest in things you usually like to do
        • Feeling tired all the time
  • Changes in how you think about yourself and your baby
      • Having trouble bonding with your baby
      • Thinking about hurting yourself or your baby

What you should do if you think you are experiencing postpartum depression:

      • If you are two weeks or more past the birth of your baby, seek help. Tell your ObGyn right away.
      • Tell friends and family. Let them know how you are feeling. Dr. Frey and Renee were my lifelines during that time. That beautiful baby I was expecting just turned 8 years old. I’m so thankful to my friends and family for pulling me out of a deep depression.
      • Know that you are not alone!
      • If you have any thought of hurting yourself or your baby, call 911 right away.

Watch It Starts with Mom Live! to hear from health experts and other moms about what you need to know to ensure the best health outcomes for you and your baby.

Tune in to It Starts With Mom Live! TODAY! June 22 at 3:00 PM ET on March of Dimes Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

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In case you missed it, watch the first video in the It Starts With Mom series as we chat about mental health, cardiovascular issues, chronic health conditions, how to advocate for yourself, and much more. Go to itstartswithmom.org (itstartswithmom.org). (https://www.marchofdimes.org/find-support/it-starts-mom/it-starts-mom-live-event#may11)