It's hard to revisit those days and how I felt when I came home from the hospital with my baby. How I cried (and cried). How I didn't think I could do it again -- I couldn't take care of a baby. How I didn't want to do it again.
This was not the baby blues. This was postpartum depression and I am very thankful that I knew enough about it to recognize the PPD warning signs.
Things got better for me, but not before I made a call and got some help.
New mothers often experience tears, irritability, or forgetfulness because of fatigue, but those things don't necessarily mean they're suffering from PPD. If extra sleep makes you feel better or you have some much needed help around the house, it's likely that within weeks you'll feel more like yourself again.
But some moms don't feel better after a couple of weeks or even a few months. I didn't. I seemed to be constantly shifting from one of these warning signs to another:
1. Uncontrollable Weeping: The kind that makes you not want to or be able to get out of bed.
2. Loss of Appetite: Neighbors and friends brought us food and I was too anxious to want to eat it.
3. Insomnia: I couldn't sleep at night or rest at all during the day.
4. Irrational Fears: I used to worry about driving off the road with my baby in the car. I live in a city where that's pretty much impossible to do, but I couldn't stop thinking about it every time I got in the car.
5. An Inability to Bond With Your Baby: I did what I needed to do: The baby was fed, changed, and held, but the joy of it all was missing.
If you even think you might have PPD, you can visit resources like PostpartumProgress.com or Postpartum.net to learn more, or please talk to your doctor. PPD is real, it's treatable, and it's temporary. No woman should ever feel ashamed or embarrassed to seek help.
Did you or do you have PPD? Baby blues? What helped you get through it?
Image via kwadrat/Flickr