Like most first time mothers, I prepared everything I could possibly think of for my daughter's arrival. Prepared the nursery? Check. Steady supply of diapers? Check. Birth classes? Check. I thought I was ready and prepared for anything and then we received a huge surprise when my water broke at 35 weeks pregnant and my daughter had to be delivered with an emergency c-section. Even as a mental health professional I was not prepared for the reality of having a baby early with health issues and having to recover from a c-section. When my daughter was about a month old I realized I had Post-Partum Depression (PPD). PPD can hit new mothers in a variety of ways. Some of the symptoms you may feel:
-Feeling nothing toward your baby
-Having trouble concentrating
-Having trouble sleeping, even though you are exhausted
-Feeling disconnected from your family and friends
-Feeling like you want to hurt yourself
If you are experiencing some or all of these symptoms reach out for help. PPD can improve and these symptoms can go away. A good first step is reaching out to your OB/GYN and/or a therapist if you don't feel like you can turn to your family or friends. Also know that you are not alone in this journey. Many other mothers experience PPD and issues with their emotions during pregnancy. PPD is treatable and temporary, but is important to reach out for help. If you feel like you want to hurt yourself, please don't hesitate to go to your nearest emergency room for help or to call a mental health crisis hotline. There is also a hotline for mothers experiencing PPD and they can be reached at 800-PPD-MOMS.