Hayden Panettiere, actress from Nashville, confirmed seeking treatment for postpartum depression. During her appearance on Live! With Kelly and Michael, she described it as “something that’s completely uncontrollable, and it’s really painful, and it’s really scary, and women need a lot of support.” Postpartum depression is often described as the silent pain of a new mother. Usually postpartum depression occurs within the first year of giving birth. It can happen to anyone and most women experience this type of depression.

Let’s talk about the difference between baby blues and depression. It is completely normal to feel a little down right after giving birth. Let’s face it, even though it’s a beautiful experience, it is also a very traumatic experience with a great reward . . . so ironic!  Your body goes through a tremendous pressure and the recovery really depends on the individual. Now, besides your hormonal and body changes, there is your mental health.

As a new mom, you may feel like everything is up to YOU. Especially if you are breast feeding.  Baby blues happens to almost anyone. It is when you feel down and a mild depression. It is more than not having energy to do anything but not having any motivation as well. Baby blues usually lasts up to 6 weeks and sometimes longer. It can easily turn into postpartum depression. The difference is that postpartum depression is more severe where you just want to give up on everything like taking care of yourself or the baby, loss of interest in almost everything, lack of motivation, constant crying, feeling like everything is going wrong, and in extreme cases thoughts of  hurting yourself and/or the baby.

Reading these symptoms would probably make you feel like a horrible person. Please know that you are not a horrible person, you are just going through something and you are not alone. Many women go through this painful process but keep it a secret. Others feel ashamed to feel like this because you are “supposed” to be happy to have a baby.

Postpartum depression is a silent pain that many new mothers experience. No one wants to admit experiencing horrible feelings. I am very happy to see that postpartum depression is not perceived as a weakness nor bad parenting. I was amazed to see the reactions of my mommy support group when I took the courage to say “I have postpartum depression.”  The amount of love and acceptance was unbelievable.  And even better, my courage to share prompted other moms to say “me too.” So we are not alone after all!  What to do when you experience postpartum depression?

Here are 3 ways on how to overcome postpartum depression

  1. Break the silence. My strongest suggestion is to NOT keep it a secret. There is a huge benefit with talking to others. Therapy is a good approach and it will help you better understand this phenomenon. Do not underestimate yourself. Don’t think you can deal with this on your own because you don’t have to. The help is here for you to use!!!
  2. Find a support group. Listening to others’ gives you a different perspective on things and teaches you that you are not the only one. Just as I mentioned before, the courage to share with others will encourage others and bring more awareness.
  3. Leave the house. Yes, those walls ARE moving. Take a walk, join a friend for coffee, or go to a park. Baby steps are important. If you make small goals they are easier to achieve and that is important.

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Author: Mayeling Angelastro, MA is an Orlando Winter Park Bilingual (Espanol) Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern providing help to couples, families, couples, children and teenagers with offices in Winter Park and East Orlando.  Call us for a Complimentary 15 Minute Phone Call (407) 248-0030