Much of the media discussion surrounding post-partum depression focuses on sensationalistic acts of violence on the part of mother’s who just seem to “snap” one day after having a child. We hear about “chemical imbalances” and “hormones” changing the mother to the point where she is out of control and has ideas of hurting herself or her children. Having a baby is a tremendous experience. The body does goes through so many changes. Add on the stress of adding another little person to the family, the sleep deprivation, dealing with the sheer pain of the body’s recovery; adaptation to breast feeding and shifting back to it’s pre-pregnancy form. And what about the relationship with a partner? Has he or she lived up to Mom’s expectations? Are they providing the physical and emotional support Mom needs? It’s common place for these stresses to fall over onto the partner, not to mention what they are going through with Mom having less time for the relationship.
Having a baby is a HUGE life transition! Even the most excited and wanting parents will go through a tremendous amount of stress. This stress can continue for several years with each new growth spurt, fever, teething, “cholic”, acid-reflux, or allergy. It does not mean you are “mentally ill”…you are a parent and need some help. This “disorder” needs to be demystified and talked about more. Being a parent is HARD work! Having the little bundle of joy turn on you without any explanation is gut wrenching and beyond frustrating. Making time for yourself seems, and often is, impossible. Whoever said “sleep when your baby sleeps” obviously had maid service.
So what to do? Talk about it with someone you trust; a friend, family member, your family doctor, or a psychologist. This can be frustrating as well depending on their reaction to you, but keep telling yourself “I am not crazy. I will get through this. I just need a little more time and support”. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.