Postpartum depression: staying in bed too long?

“…She’d never known that a plain old double mattress could become a world unto itself, an oasis.” (qtd. in The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah)

Hi fellow stay-in-bed parents,

What if your mattress stops being a homey oasis and instead becomes a harrowing prison?

The pressure of wanting to be the “perfect mom (or dad)” can prevent us from sharing feelings of depression and/or anxiety. This all-consuming, earth quaking kind of pressure may keep us staying in bed longer than what’s good for us.

Does this sound familiar? 

Maybe you’ve struggled with depression and/or anxiety your whole adult life or maybe it’s recently creeped into your life and taken hold. The pressure of parenthood splits you open and makes you wonder if you’ll ever be whole again.

You’re “walking along and [most decidedly not] singing your song” with your blue shoes on. Unlike Pete the Cat, of the popular picture book series, “it’s [not] all good.”

Some of us experience “the blues” for a season of our lives and then our sadness dissipates like a stormy black cloud. Others undergo “the blues” because of a reason (e.g. pregnancy, death, divorce, romantic breakup, terminal illness, financial hardship, job loss, new move, elder care, etc.). Still others manage “the blues” for a lifetime and deal with the devastation of a lifelong mental illness. More on that later.

Postpartum depression (PPD), a medical condition characterized by extreme sadness, worry (anxiety), and tiredness, doesn’t reflect negatively on you as a person or parent.

You can’t “try your way out of” depression and anxiety.

“If I just try harder, then it will go away…”

“If I become a better person or parent, then it will go away…”

No, postpartum depression is biological! It isn’t the result of something you did or didn’t do.

PPD Facts:

  • PPD is the most common complication of childbirth.
  • PPD often starts within one to three weeks of having a baby, and it needs treatment to resolve.
  • PPD happens during pregnancy or in the first year after giving birth.
  • It affects up to 1 in 7 women (about 15 percent).
  • If you had PPD during one pregnancy, it’s likely you’ll have it again with another pregnancy.
  • For half of the mothers diagnosed with PPD, this is their first experience with depression.
  • “The baby blues”, starting two to 35 days after delivery and lasting up to two weeks, is different from PPD.

Source: March of Dimes

A Final Thought – From the Pillow

Postpartum depression in no way reflects negatively on your mothering or fathering skills.

So “you are enough.” The depression and anxiety that are getting you down have absolutely nothing to do with you as a person or parent.

What’s your view from the bed today, bleak or bright?

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