Postpartum Depression: The Top Triggers
I waited to become a mother until I was 37, and I felt totally ready and excited. That’s why I was so disappointed in myself when, a few weeks after my beautiful baby was born, I felt more fear and agitation than excitement. I felt inadequate, like an imposter.” - Loretta, on postpartum depression
Studies show 15-40% of all new moms develop postpartum depression. That makes PPD a national epidemic!
Some aspects of the condition may surprise you:
- There’s no conclusion that PPD is caused by hormonal shifts.
- PPD can start right after birth or come on months later.
- The main feelings are often anxiety, fear and intrusive thoughts.
- 50% of men whose partners get PPD experience depression, too.
Most moms get just a mild case of the “baby blues,” but others become deeply depressed (and a few even develop psychosis). Being exhausted and hearing your baby’s screams may trigger a flood of painful memories (like being yelled at in anger or ridiculed). And it’s not uncommon for old feelings of shame and rage to burst back to the surface during this time. If you are feeling overwhelmed and think you might be depressed, don’t hesitate call your doctor.
The best ways to keep PPD at bay? Address the 3 biggest triggers:
- Persistent crying
- Unsupportive partners
A cool thing? The 5 S’s work on all 3 triggers directly: They calm a baby’s cries, help parents get more sleep and can be just the thing to engage an unsupportive spouse.
Never forget that you need help—and deserve it! Ask a neighbor or friend to pick up dry-cleaning or walk the dog so you have less on your plate. Use technology…like Happiest Baby’s SNOO Smart Sleeper to give your whole family more rest. Hire a nanny, doula or night nurse for support around the house. Bottom line: Do what feels right to you, but don’t brave it alone. You need it—and deserve it!