Check yourself

Last night I met a mom of a 7-week-old. We were talking about how things were going for her, and she said that she was wondering when she was going to start enjoying it, and that she woke up every morning with a sense of dread and a feeling of "How am I going to make it through today?" We were talking about her baby, and she seemed not to know what to say about him.

We talked some more, and it became pretty apparent that she either had mild PPD or was on the border of it. We talked about some things she could do that start feeling better immediately (exercise that works your core–so T-Tapp, pilates, or yoga, Omega 3s at 3,000mg a day, and B complex vitamins) and asked her to talk to her doctor in a few days whether or not she was feeling better, just to get a professional helping her.

As we were leaving, she told me she was glad she’d talked to me, because she’d thought she was just being a cry-baby about it.

That’s the thing about PPD. When you’re sinking into it, you don’t say "Aha! I have this illness called PPD. Let me get some help." You just think things suck and you don’t feel very good. And, yeah, most people aren’t really loving the gig at 7 weeks, so you feel like maybe it’s all normal. But why is it so hard for you? And if you tell your partner and s/he doesn’t know what to do so s/he just tells you "it’ll get better" then you think maybe it really is just weakness or being a whiner.

It’s not. In the first two weeks post-partum, your hormones will be whacked out and you’ll laugh and cry for no reason. Past that point, though, if you feel dread all the time, and don’t feel joy several times during each day, you’re sinking into PPD.

YOU ARE NOT WEAK. Your hormones are out of whack, and you have a treatable illness. You can probably get some relief by making some small changes, you may need meds but you won’t have to stop nursing unless you want to, and there is nothing wrong with you as a person. You are suffering from a physical illness.

Over on the left is a PDF you can download with some suggestions of things you can do to help lift the greyness (to me depression always felt like being rolled in that pink fiberglass insulation–I was still there on the inside but I just couldn’t seem to interface with the rest of the world) and give yourself a little bit of breathing room. Download it, show it to your partner, and tell him or her that you need help. Start with one or two of the things on the list, and get your partner to call your provider. They will help you.

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