Chrissy, like I know her on a first name basis, was very candid when she opened up to the media about her battle with postpartum depression. She talked about her sadness and anxiety manifesting as physical pain. I too, in retrospect, think I dealt with this syndrome with at least one, if not all of my pregnancies. Mine didn’t display itself as aimless crying or physical pain. Mine was rage. I was pissed, at my husband mostly. I don’t recall the details, but he does.
Postpartum blues and depression don’t always manifest as sadness. As I stated, I think I had the angry kind. The Postpartum Depression Alliance of Illinois has a great summary of symptoms that women may experience:
A mother may:
- Feel constantly tired
- Feel angry, irritable or short tempered
- Cry often for no apparent reason
- Feel panicky
- Worry excessively about her own or the baby’s health
- Have a lack of feeling for the baby
- Have difficulty sleeping or eating
- Have problems concentrating
- Have frightening thoughts or fantasies
- Feel an overwhelming sense of loss
SOME COMMENTS FROM WOMEN EXPERIENCING POSTPARTUM PROBLEMS:
- I feel like running away.
- I don’t feel like myself anymore.
- I’m a rotten person, a rotten mother.
- I feel like I’m going crazy!
- I sometimes think of hurting the baby or myself.
- I never know what to expect when I get home
- Will my partner ever be the same?
- Something is horribly wrong, but I don’t know how to help her.
- It’s tough to live with a depressed person.
Depending on the level of a woman’s symptoms, she may be able to get some sleep, talk it out or go for a walk and feel better. Others may need to see their doctor, possibly take antidepressants temporarily, or at it’s worst, be hospitalized. The point is, couples should not be ashamed if these symptoms arise. Recognizing them can help protect relationships and make new motherhood way more enjoyable.
And what about eating or encapsulating the placenta. More data needs to be collected to determine if there is any value, but data analysis thus far is not demonstrating a reproducible or consistent benefit to new mothers. With any bodily fluids or tissues, there are risks to consumption that should also be fully explored.
Click here to read an article about breastfeeding that I wrote for Jet Magazine years ago. Breast feeding is extremely important, but can also be a source of emotional turmoil. Try your best but don’t let the desire to breast feed negatively impact your relationship with your new baby.
Charlize Theron’s character in Hancock said it best: