What I want you to know about postpartum depression

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Am I gonna be okay? Can I do this effectively, motherhood? Am I ready? It’s all questions pregnant women have to deal with. But the biggest fear of all: will I bond with my baby? What if there is no commitment? What if I don’t love my baby?! How do I protect myself against postnatal depression? Can I protect myself from it?

Postpartum depression is an illness and not a reflection of you as a mother or as a woman

The stigma

Postpartum depression is something you read far too little in a book or article. Once in a while you see something appear about it. But in reality this happens far too little and is generalized. You give birth to a baby, feel no conncection and experience months, maybe even years, a feeling of sadness and, yes, hate for that baby you gave birth to.

Far too little is spoken openly. Many mothers who have experienced this are silent about it in all languages. Out of shame for others and especially out of shame towards themselves. Because often in their own eyes they did not speak enough as a mother.

Those so-called baby blues  

After childbirth, some women suffer from so-called ‘baby blues’ between the second and fourth day. Gloominess, crying for no real reason, everything seems to go wrong and you are overwhelmed by emotions. During this period you constantly ask yourself: hey, why am I not happy like a new mummy should be?! It is often said that these so-called baby blues last a day or two. After that, you’ll soon be back to your old self. 

Nothing could be further from the truth. In that first week, you’re bound to have a bad day. But that bale day can evolve after a few days. No one can prove that these only last a few hours. In fact, these so-called bale days can return. So don’t assume that if you feel gloomier on the third day and when this is over, you will be safe for the rest of your life as a mother.  

So when do we speak of postpartum depression?

Unlike baby blues, postpartum depression is a real disease. This depression appears much later and is much more worrying. Attention, every normal mummy sometimes feels insecure, gloomy or has the feeling that she has no control over the situation at all. This is absolutely normal. 

In postpartum depression this is accompanied by a prolonged period of time that persists. Mommy experiences little or no appetite, energy and importance; she experiences little or no pleasure in being a mother. A whole list of physical and emotional complaints follow. 

It’s incredibly difficult to recognize postpartum depression in yourself. Because every mother experiences these feelings one or – believe me – several times. It is important to talk about this. This way you avoid falling deeper.

So many moms and still a taboo

In Belgium, one in ten mothers suffers from postnatal depression. And yet there is far too little talk about it. Yet talking about it is very important. Expressing your feelings and worries openly can be a good start of healing. This even before you tumble further into an effective depression. 

Are you a newly born mom who is struggling with these feelings and worries? Talk about it with a good friend or the midwife. A conversation with an expert will determine whether or not you are at the stage of postpartum depression. It is very important that this depression is treated quickly. After all, this disease disrupts the early bond between you and the baby.

Make postnatal depression a topic for discussion. Make sure it no longer remains a taboo. Because no one is to blame for this terrible disease. You’re not a worse mother because you’ve been with these feelings. On the contrary. 

Do you recognize yourself in this article? Then don’t wrestle with this on your own. Talk about it with your partner, midwife or doctor.

This article has been written by Stephanie De Vroe from @SMOTHERHOODS

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