“You are not depressed, you are just tired from the new baby!” You have a beautiful new bundle of joy what do you have to be sad about?” “Snap out of it, you have a child to take care!” I have heard each of these things and more from family and friends, both with my first child and my now with my second.
No one like to talk about postpartum depression and anxiety. Many women are embarrassed or feel like they will be looked at with disdain if they admit they need help. They are afraid that people will think that they can’t take care of their child. But the thing is PPDA is a real thing. It can be completely incapacitating. Trust me, I know because I suffer from it. With my first child I cried constantly for no reason and every reason. I ran the gamut of emotions all day. Only at that time I had no idea I had PPDA. I have anxiety normally when I am not postpartum so I just assumed it was a little exaggerated since I was a first time mom and didn’t know what I was doing. Luckily, I have an incredible support system and my cousin told me I needed help. I sought out a councilor and it helped tremendously. I started blogging and after a difficult struggle I got through it.
Cut to four years later and it is happening all over again. I had my son 12 weeks ago and the PPDA hit me like a ton of bricks. It is so much worse than before. I cry all the time, I have no interest in doing anything that I need to do. Even though I love my children more than anything I don’t really want to do things with them. I am getting very short and cranky with my older daughter and just going through the motions with my son and husband. The positive is that this time I was able to recognize it and I decided to do something about it on my own before I was too far into the depression to pull myself out. I decided to join a clinical study for a new PPD medication. At the current moment there are no medications that are specifically geared toward PPDA. When moms seek out help for the PPDA they are put on things like Zoloft.
The research for the clinical study shows that PPDA is caused by the rapid decline of the pregnancy hormones causing the symptoms PPDA. The medication works to put the hormones back into the system and slowly reduce the hormone and a more manageable rate. I have had two psych evaluations and a physical before being allowed to participate. After all that I was approved to participate. When I received the news I thought, “Yay I am able to participate!” but at the same time I thought, “Great, I have PPDA!” so it was a little bittersweet.
Not only am I hoping that the new experimental medications with help me with my depression but that it will also help other moms and the future overcome their depression. PPDA is a serious problem and society need to acknowledge and talk about it. Too many moms have suffered and even taken their on lives due to the severity of their depression.
I am putting out a call to action. If someone know seems to suffering from any form of PPDA please reach out to them. Ask them how they are doing. Ask them if you can help in any way. Even if you just listen or hold their new baby for a few minutes. You will be surprised how much the littlest things can help. I will keep you posted over the next 6 weeks while I am participating in this study. I am praying for positive results.