Postpartum depression (PPD), also called postnatal depression, is a type of clinical depression which can affect both sexes after childbirth. Symptoms may include sadness, low energy, changes in sleeping and eating patterns, and reduced desire for sex, crying episodes, anxiety, and irritability.
Myth 1: Postnatal Depression is normal — all new mothers feel tired and depressed.
Fact: New mothers often feel tired and overwhelmed. They may be experiencing “baby blues.” Women with baby blues may feel tired, weepy, and have no energy. However, the feelings that go with PPD are stronger and longer lasting. A mother with PPD may not want to play with her baby. She may have trouble paying attention to things and may not be able to meet her baby’s needs for warmth and affection. She may feel guilty or worthless.
Myth 2: If you don’t get PPD right after you give birth, you won’t get it at all.
Fact: PPD can happen any time in the first year after a woman gives birth.
Myth 3: Postnatal depression will go away on its own without treatment.
Fact: The “baby blues” may last up to 4 weeks but usually goes away on its own. Like many illnesses, PPD almost never goes away without treatment. The good news is that there are available treatments that work.
Myth 4: All women with PPD have thoughts about hurting their children.
Fact: Women with postpartum psychosis, which is a life-threatening disorder separate from PPD, are at risk for hurting their babies or themselves. If you have thoughts about harming yourself or your child you should ask for help right away from your family and your doctor.
Myth 5: Women with PPD look depressed or stop taking care of themselves.
Fact: You can’t tell someone has PPD by looking at her. A woman with PPD may look perfectly “normal” to everyone else. She may even try especially hard to look polished or put together – keeping her makeup done, and her hair styled – to turn attention away from the pain she is feeling on the inside.
Myth 6: Women with PPD are bad mothers.
Fact: Having PPD does not make someone a bad mother.
Myth 7: If you have PPD, you must have done something wrong.
Fact: PPD is nobody’s fault. There is nothing that a woman with PPD could have done to avoid having this disorder.
Myth 8: You’ll get over your PPD if you just get more sleep.
Fact: Although it’s important for women with PPD to get enough sleep, sleep by itself will not cure PPD.
Myth 9: Women with PPD can’t take antidepressants if they are breastfeeding.
Fact: Studies have shown that there is a very small risk to the baby with the antidepressants most likely to be prescribed for PPD. If it is necessary for a woman with PPD to take an antidepressant, her doctor will carefully choose one that is most likely to help her and least likely to hurt her baby.
Myth 10: Pregnant and postpartum women don’t get depressed.
Fact: Being pregnant, or having just given birth, is not a guarantee against getting depression. In other words, pregnancy does not protect a woman from depression, and in fact, studies show that the childbearing years are when a woman is most likely to experience depression in her lifetime.
So go out and get yourself assessed and treated by a doctor and enjoy your parenthood!!