In our last post we focused on postpartum depression almost exclusively. We discussed how it can be distinguished from the “baby blues” by its severity and long-lastingness, among other things. We ended the post discussing the need for anyone who is experiencing these symptoms to open up about them, to understand that they are not alone, and, if necessary, seek professional help. Before we outline the differences between other syndromes like postpartum anxiety and postpartum OCD. We’d like to speak about the recommended ways that you yourself can deal with PPD. We talked about therapy and antidepressant medication, but there are other ways you can attempt to better control your state than just those two options.
- Making time to exercise throughout the week
- Being intentional about surrounding yourself with a support system of friends and family
- Allowing your partner, or someone close, to watch your child for a period so you can get a break for some self-care
- Doing your best to get enough sleep (although this is often more easily said than done)
Perhaps the most important measure you can take to help yourself recover from these feelings of sadness, shame, and inadequacy is to repeatedly tell yourself that it is not your own fault for feeling the way you do. It does not mean that you do not love your child. It does not mean that you are a bad mother or person, either. It means that you are dealing with something that is natural and expected for at least one in ten women, if not more. We at Deanna D. Midwifery don’t want you to feel alone or guilty. We want you to feel equipped and empowered so that you know where you can turn to for help.
Understanding Other Postpartum Illnesses
There are more illnesses than just PPD. Among these other postpartum illnesses are postpartum anxiety, and postpartum OCD.. We will briefly take a look at each of these to help our readers better understand their differences. Again, this isn’t meant to serve as a self-diagnosing tool, but merely provide some context for symptoms around 40 percent of new mothers experience to one degree or another.
One of the symptoms associated with PPD is uncontrollable anxiety and worry. If you are at a point where this anxiousness because debilitating to the extent that you can’t do the activities you need to accomplish in a given day, you might have an anxiety disorder. Some of these fears include worrying about sudden infant death syndrome or less refined worries about somehow losing your baby. But the worries don’t stop there. They can range from worrying about the quality of mother you will be to your physical appearance now that you’ve given birth. Recent studies point to an estimated 8.5 postpartum mothers who experience clinical anxiety.
Postpartum Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (PPOCD)
PPOCD is relatively nascent in the “family” of postpartum disorders. Somewhere between 3 and 5 percent of postpartum mothers experience some of the following symptoms most closely associated with PPOCD.
- Extremely preoccupied with the safety of the newborn baby
- Exhibiting compulsions of doing things over and over again that are related to the baby’s well-being. This can include ordering, counting, listing, rechecking, and/or cleaning things.
- Obsessive thoughts that are repetitive, and often include mental images of babies that are disconcerting
- Fear of being alone with your baby
It’s important to note that women suffering from this disorder alone understand that these thoughts and compulsions are irrational and aren’t to be acted on. But they should still seek professional treatment if they are experiencing some of these symptoms, because they are unpleasant and can actually detract from the quality of mothering that a postpartum woman can have. Ultimately, they should be addressed as quickly as possible.
Consider Deanna D. Midwifery
While we weren’t able to find enough time to take a look at every postpartum disorder we intended to, we want our readers to know that they have support in Deanna D. Midwifery, if they are in need of it. Whether you are seeking professional help or not, our WHNP and certified midwife clinic is at your disposal with comprehensive healthcare for women. From adolescence to menopause, we provide a range of women’s health services for the Tri-Cities. Whether you are looking for a prenatal clinic or are seeking more information about treatment for postpartum disorders in particular, reach out to us if you are in need of support!