Postpartum Depression, Postpartum Anxiety, and The Baby Blues — The Bump
April 2018 Moms

Postpartum Depression, Postpartum Anxiety, and The Baby Blues

I wanted to start a discussion on this topic since it wasn't really talked about on my last BMB at all, beyond quick and non-specific mentions of "the baby blues."

When I was pregnant with DD, I never knew how common PPD was and always felt that it was something sort of far away that only happened to other people. When it hit me hard after giving birth, I felt caught off guard, lost, terrified, isolated, and like there was something inherently wrong with me. 

Since third tri is creeping up for some of us, I felt like now would be a good time to get this discussion going.

My hope for this thread is that it will serve as a place for anyone who has suffered from postpartum mental illness (of any sort) to come and share their experience, a place to ask questions, and ultimately and very very hopefully, serve to help anyone who may find themselves struggling, after our babies are born, to not feel so alone. 

For any STM+s who have suffered from PP mental illness, feel free to answer the questions below (and be as brief or specific as you are comfortable with) to get the discussion going--

How did PP mental illness manifest for you? (Feel free to share any specific thoughts, feelings, struggles, fears, and challenges that you experienced.)

What did you do as far as treating your postpartum mental illness? (Meds? Therapy? Etc? List anything that you did that ended up being helpful for you.) 

How long after birth did it take for things to get better?

If you could say something to another mom who was struggling with postpartum mental illness, what would it be? 

Feel free to add add anything else that you want to here--
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Re: Postpartum Depression, Postpartum Anxiety, and The Baby Blues

  • @kbamomma33 Thanks for starting this! I struggled with depression during my first trimester, and I'm nervous about the possibility of PPD, so it'll be great to get some suggestions, reassurance, etc. 
    kbamomma33g_amoss
  • @kbamomma33 thanks for starting this thread. I have a long hx of MDD, self harm, ect. PPD is one of my absolute biggest fears as a first time mom and I've had multiple discussions with DH about not leaving me alone with little one if he thinks for a second that I might put him in harm's way.

    I look forward to advice/comments from other mom's on this subject!
    kbamomma33g_amossstalkinghorse
  • @kbamomma33 @kmalls
    Thank you both for being so candid. The stigma surrounding anything mental health related can often hinder people from saying how they feel/felt and I know from experience how important it can be to know other people have felt the same way and that they made it through. Genuinely, thank you!
    kbamomma33kmalls
  • @mcb2016 I relate to much of what you said. I’m so sorry you had such a tough experience with breastfeeding. I feel like unless a person has been through the ringer in the same way, it’s impossible to express how mentally difficult and anxiety-filled feeding your child can be. 

    That’s so great you’re going to find a counselor prior to birth, and I’m definitely going to consider doing the same. For me, one of the biggest deterrents for getting help last time was the the thought of needing to put energy into searching for the right therapist. It seemed like a monumental effort that I just wasn’t up for.  
    ftm_ohiokbamomma33mcb2016
  • Thank you to all of you ladies for sharing your stories and being so open, especially @kbamomma33 for starting the thread, sharing, and giving such wonderful advice. This is all so, so important, but you'd never know it  because no one talks about it. <3
    TW
    Me: 30 DH: 30
    Started Dating: 2003 Married: 2013
    Started TTC August 2016
    BFP: 2/1/17 MC: 2/8/17
    BFP: 3/8/17 MMC: 5/1/17
    BFP: 7/23/17 EDD: 4/5/18





    kbamomma33ftm_ohiostalkinghorse
  • ladythriceladythrice
    500 Love Its 500 Comments Third Anniversary First Answer
    member
    edited December 2017
    How did PP mental illness manifest for you? (Feel free to share any specific thoughts, feelings, struggles, fears, and challenges that you experienced.)

    I will caveat this with a note that I was never officially diagnosed, this is my unofficial diagnosis.

    I had typical baby blues for two weeks, crying about every little thing. While trying, stressful, and anxiety causing, that did end. 

    Additionally, I developed post partum anxiety. During the first four months, it manifested in feeling overwhelmed by EVERYTHING. The thought of doing laundry while managing DS would send me into a tailspin. Making myself food, let alone dinner for DH and I was hit and miss. I couldn't leave the house because the thought of putting DS in warm weather gear and into his carseat, and worrying about feeding while out, were so overwhelming I'd break out in a sweat and just stay home.

    We had weight gain issues which exacerbated my anxiety and caused me to obsess and measure every ounce of milk DS was getting. I'm not using the term obsess loosely. I would dream/nightmare about his eating/feeding. 

    I took the OB questionnaire, and I took it seriously because I have a family history of mental health depression and anxiety disorders, but none of my answers caused the OB to question me further. Honestly, none of my answers were flags that I recognized either.

    I never had self harm thoughts, nor thoughts of harming my son, just overwhelming, crushing debilitating anxiety.

    What did you do as far as treating your postpartum mental illness? (Meds? Therapy? Etc? List anything that you did that ended up being helpful for you.) 

    I never received treatment. While on maternity leave, I would go for short walks with DS and I'm pretty sure that's what saved my sanity for four months.

    When I returned to work I had a whole other part of my life affected by my new anxiety.

    How long after birth did it take for things to get better?

    This is sad but for me it was nearly 13 months. I got pregnant at 10 months post partum (intentionally) and broke down at my first OB appt and asked for help. The nurse practitioner I saw basically said, suck it up, you're pregnant, if it gets REAL bad, come back and tell me. /Sigh

    This coincided with DH changing jobs, selling a house, buying a new house, moving, DS's first birthday, and the Fall holiday season... To say I was overwhelmed was an understatement.

    About two months later, after everything had settled, I just started to feel normal again. Spring was coming, and I felt my mind lightening up like the weather. I remember telling DH that I was finally starting to feel like myself.

    If you could say something to another mom who was struggling with postpartum mental illness, what would it be? 

    i don't even know what to say except that life doesn't have to feel overwhelmingly hard. Yes, adding a baby is difficult and will have it's share it anxiety, but it should be manageable. If it's not, talk to someone and make sure they take you seriously. Thankfully, while I never did talk to someone in the medical field until super late, I had been talking to DH the whole time. He was amazing at reducing anxiety where we could, and picking things up that I was dropping... And that was wonderful for me.

    DS: EDD, December 19th, 2014. Born, December 19th, 2014!
    DD: EDD, July 18th, 2016. Born, July 19th, 2016!
    CafeMom Tickers

    Baby #3: EDD, April 16th, 2016
    Pregnancy Ticker
    ftm_ohiokbamomma33frenchiekinplusonermmorris
  • Is there anyone on here taking an antidepressant currently? I am, and I'm still feeling major guilt and anxiety about it.
    Pregnancy Ticker
  • @fancybelmont I am. My doc assures me that it is safe for pregnancy and breastfeeding. Moreover it is important that I manage my depression because not doing so can lead to issues for the baby. 
    ladythricecodingchildhood
  • @fancybelmont I am. My doc assures me that it is safe for pregnancy and breastfeeding. Moreover it is important that I manage my depression because not doing so can lead to issues for the baby. 
    I know.  I'm just upset because I went 8 months without anything, and then finally had to give in last month.  I know it's important to deal with it but I just feel guilty I couldn't stick it out.  And I worry, deep down, that I could be harming the baby in some way.  :(  I know it's safe, but I can't help it.  The Mom Guilt is strong.
    Pregnancy Ticker
  • I had a question as a FTM. Any advice you would give to spouses? Was there anything they did that was helpful?

    I had a very serious depression 18 months ago and went on anti-depressants for it and recovered. The last couple weeks I started to feel very similar echoes of that, but I had a lot of crap going on. My doctor was ready to put me on Zoloft, but things started to resolve around me and I'm feeling myself again. But my doctor and I are both on high alert for PPD.

    My husband really struggles in these situations, he was raised in a family that praised self-reliance above all else, so he struggles with empathy and support. I literally had to google "how to support your wife after miscarriage" for him. Any practical advice I could give him to prepare?
  • *coming out of semi-lurking status to chime in*

    @fancybelmont I'm currently on 50mg of Zoloft and will continue this for the foreseeable future. Both me, my OB, and my MFM feel that the benefits outweigh the risks and I'm 110% sure that this is best for both me and LO. I may even increase my dose if necessary in 3rd tri and/or post partum.  

    @stalkinghorse it's so tough when dealing with anyone who doesn't truly understand mental disorders. The best analogy I can give those people is that depression/anxiety medication is to people suffering from depressions/anxiety/PPD what insulin is to diabetics. Your body has stopped producing something that is necessary to function, so that's what the medication is for. I realize that this is WAY oversimplifying drug therapy for PPD, but it helps people "get it" and be less judgmental about it. 


    *Formerly LuND*
    Me: 34 | DH: 35
    TTC: 7/2016
    BFP 7/29/17
    EDD: 4/5/18
    <3  DS born 4/4/18  <3


    stalkinghorsefrenchiekinplusone1fish2fishredfishhedgepig
  • ladythriceladythrice
    500 Love Its 500 Comments Third Anniversary First Answer
    member
    edited December 2017
    @fancybelmont I truly hope my post didn't give you the impression that there's something wrong with treating depression/anxiety while pregnant, because I absolutely do not feel that way.  Frankly, I was uneducated when I was told to 'suck it up' and believe this amounted to mistreatment by my OB office. FTR, I've encountered the same NP on 3 separate occasions and each time has been horrible. I do not believe she was acting in the best interest of both my and my daughter's health. I think she just dismissed my concerns (and sobbing in the office while holding my 10 month old...) and I think this was incredibly wrong.

    I firmly believe this to be true, both during pregnancy and after birth: a healthy, happy, WELL Mom is FAR better for a baby than a mom struggling solo with whatever she's confronting. 

    DS: EDD, December 19th, 2014. Born, December 19th, 2014!
    DD: EDD, July 18th, 2016. Born, July 19th, 2016!
    CafeMom Tickers

    Baby #3: EDD, April 16th, 2016
    Pregnancy Ticker
    stalkinghorsekmallskbamomma33
  • @stalkinghorse, I don't really have great advice other than to start taking to partners NOW. Have them read up and understand what happens after birth. Even women who don't have PPD/PPA WILL change and act differently simply because of hormonal changes. It's biological, not 'mental' or 'emotional'. 

    With my DH I spent a lot of time sharing my fears and telling him to be on the lookout for PPD as I have a deep family history of depression and I was so nervous. Flash forward 10 months and I finally figured out what I was going through was related to post partum anxiety, something I was not at all prepared for or expecting so DH and i both missed the signs.

    Thankfully DH and I are both excellent communicators and have no problem telling each other what we need, when. His understanding, and drastically making changes to our lives, is what got me through.

    DS: EDD, December 19th, 2014. Born, December 19th, 2014!
    DD: EDD, July 18th, 2016. Born, July 19th, 2016!
    CafeMom Tickers

    Baby #3: EDD, April 16th, 2016
    Pregnancy Ticker
    stalkinghorsestassischroederkbamomma33ftm_ohio
  • Thanks everyone for the support.
    @ladythrice This post in no way makes me feel that anything is wrong with having depression. I'm happy you opened the discussion on it b/c it is something that shook me to the core as a new mom in a terrible way.  I wish someone would have talked to me about it before I had my first child.  I am a strong supporter of treatment and early intervention.  I just know for me, it's hard to go back on meds because I worry.  I worry that if something is wrong, I'll feel at fault for it.  That's just my nature.  I think also because I'm on Wellbutrin which isn't as studied as Zoloft makes me feel a little uneasy, but my doctor felt it was just as safe and tends to work better for me.  I'm just a worrier by nature.  I'd advise anyone in the same position as me to get on meds if they need it.  No judgement, I'm just hard on myself.

    @kbamomma33 Thanks for your kind words.  And yes, sometimes I feel like I'm not strong enough.  I toughed it out with my other pregnancies and I know I could with this one too, but I'd be suffering.  So I'm trying to be proactive but it's still hard to not feel that way.  I was someone who felt that depression was a weakness BEFORE it happened to me.  Now I know it's very real and could happen to anyone.   I am just trying to focus on taking care of myself and let myself get excited for a new baby.

    @stalkinghorse My husband is just like yours.  He's been through this with me multiple times with me but he still struggles to understand and be supportive.  It's not that he thinks I'm lying or something, he just doesn't get it because he's never been through it.  Just keep the discussion open and honest.  I literally have to tell my husband exactly what I need or he assumes I am 100% fine.  
    Pregnancy Ticker
    kbamomma33
  • edited December 2017
    Is there anyone on here taking an antidepressant currently? I am, and I'm still feeling major guilt and anxiety about it.
    10 mg lexapro and .25 xanax as needed (up to 2x/day).  I cut the xanax in half and have needed it, on average, 1x per week when I wake up in the middle of the night with racing thoughts and can't get back to sleep (and sleep, for me, is critical for managing my mood symptoms).

    I shared my experience with perinatal anxiety in a different thread- I'll copy and paste here when I get a minute and I'll go into greater detail with my experience of PPD (had after my son).
    BabyFruit Ticker
    ftm_ohiostalkinghorse
  • I had a question as a FTM. Any advice you would give to spouses? Was there anything they did that was helpful?

    I had a very serious depression 18 months ago and went on anti-depressants for it and recovered. The last couple weeks I started to feel very similar echoes of that, but I had a lot of crap going on. My doctor was ready to put me on Zoloft, but things started to resolve around me and I'm feeling myself again. But my doctor and I are both on high alert for PPD.

    My husband really struggles in these situations, he was raised in a family that praised self-reliance above all else, so he struggles with empathy and support. I literally had to google "how to support your wife after miscarriage" for him. Any practical advice I could give him to prepare?
    I relate to what you are saying about how your husband was raised. MH never grew up around anyone with mental illness and his parents are from the camp of, "Oh, you're depressed? Just go for a run or eat more fruits and vegetables!" Mental illness to them is sort of taboo and psych meds are abstract, weird, and something to be afraid of or judgy about. They still know nothing about my PPD, being on Zoloft, or plans to go back on it right after giving birth this time. I have a lot of mental illness in my family, so my perspective on it was already different. Anyways, I was surprised how supportive MH was when everything got really bad. He could see it-- something was definitely wrong.

    I feel like you are already one step ahead by understanding that having previous mental health struggles puts you at an increased risk for PPD. It's great that you have already had that conversation with your doctor too. I would suggest (and you may have already done this) having a frank and honest conversation with your husband about your concerns as well. There are a lot of online resources that you can share with him about PPD. Pinterest is a good place to start actually-- if you type in "postpartum depression husband," you'll get a lot of great articles about what husbands need to know about PPD, things to look out for, how to support, etc. You could try google too. Read up on it together and use that to help facilitate conversation.

    When I was struggling with how to explain my feelings to my husband, I actually found a letter online written by a wife struggling with PPD to her own husband. I identified with it so much it made me cry. I showed it to him and I really think that it helped him understand what was too difficult for me to state at the time. It really helped me to feel validated too. If you search, there are actually tons of letters out there like this written by women on their blogs, etc. They are all different because PPD isn't a cookie cutter thing-- it looks and is different for everyone. So, reading through some of them and sharing what you identify with most could be a great tool to help your partner understand.
    ftm_ohiolindsyestalkinghorse
  • I do want to add a quick note and say that past history of depression and anxiety doesn't necessarily mean you WILL have PPD/A. And FTMs, not everyone will go through this. I think it's important to be prepared and educated in advance, but many people end up not going through things like we've described.

    On the flip side, STMs, even if you've never experienced anything like what we're describing, every pregnancy and post partum is different so it could be different this time around.

    With DS I had about 13 months of PPA. With DD? Nada.

    DS: EDD, December 19th, 2014. Born, December 19th, 2014!
    DD: EDD, July 18th, 2016. Born, July 19th, 2016!
    CafeMom Tickers

    Baby #3: EDD, April 16th, 2016
    Pregnancy Ticker
    kbamomma33ftm_ohiostalkinghorse
  • I totally agree @ladythrice. I'll also emphasize that having an increased risk for PPD due to previous mental health struggles does not mean it's guaranteed to be a thing. It's simply something good to have on your radar. I'm not trying to get all gloom and doom for the FTMs by mentioning the increased risk if you've had mental health struggles thing either. It may not happen at all and you could be totally fine. I'm not exactly sure of statistics, but I think that, by and large, a good chunk of women end up not struggling with this problem.

    Personally for me though, I think that I would have felt better and less caught off guard had I known that my own risk for PPD was greater since I had struggled with depression and anxiety (though I never needed meds) before pregnancy.

    Since I mentioned my SIL before, I'll also add (as a purely antecdotal example) that she only experienced PPD with 2 out of her 3 kids-- the first one and the last one. With her middle baby, her PP experience was completely different and, in her words, super chill and enjoyable. It seemed totally random for her-- another example that every PP experience is different.
    ladythricehedgepigftm_ohiostalkinghorse
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