How was everyone’s Thanksgiving? We spent ours with family. There was lots of good eatin’ and laughing. Unfortunately, I ended up getting really sick after our big meal. Being sick when you are wanting to spend time with family members you don’t see on a regular basis is not a fun experience. 😦
All in all, though, it was a great Thanksgiving and I’m very happy my husband and I got to celebrate with most of our family members in some way!
I’ve been wanting to write this post for quite a while since I started my depression series. Postpartum is something that is more common than you think, but still widely shamed. I’ve had many discussions about this with counselor buddies and other women in my life who have had babies, and the conversation always ends with the same conclusion:
We need to do more.
How many women experience postpartum depression? According to Postpartum Progress, 11 to 20% of women who give birth each year experience symptoms of postpartum, but only 15% of women with these symptoms reach out for professional help (Postpartum Progress, n.d.).
What are the symptoms of postpartum depression? The Mayo Clinic states symptoms include crying, mood swings, anxiety/panic attacks, psychosis, difficulty bonding with your baby, thoughts of hurting your baby or yourself, fatigue, suicidal thoughts, and withdrawal from friends and family (Mayo Clinic, 2015).
What causes postpartum depression? Women’s bodies go through a lot during pregnancy and birth. After birth, estrogen levels drop rapidly. This, with added stress of caring for a newborn and dealing with physical changes in your body can lead to postpartum (Smith & Segal, 2015).
Who is at risk for postpartum depression? Women who have a personal or family history of depression are more at risk, as are women younger in age and women who have had previous problems with pregnancies (Womenshealth.gov, 2012). I would argue, though, that any woman is at risk for developing postpartum depression, regardless of these risk factors.
What jumps out to me when researching is this: that doesn’t seem to be enough women getting the help they need. Imagine the loneliness and confusion a woman must feel. Society paints this picture of motherhood being this lovely, beautiful, always happy lifestyle. So what if you don’t feel that way? Imagine the guilt and the shame that comes with that feeling.
There are a lot of stigmas and barriers that may prevent women from getting the help they need. These include:
-their physical location. Some countries or areas may be more supportive of women seeking help for themselves versus others. Individuals may also live in a more rural area that does not provide the proper treatment for these mothers.
-Societal and other peers/family members expectations. Like I said earlier, society and media portrays that women are supposed to be in this “glow” of motherhood following birth. But really, your life shifts. Your body changes. That can take some adjustment alone. But add these high expectations from others on top of that? If you seek help, you may be seen as “weak” or admitting that you aren’t meeting this golden standard of motherhood.
-Lack of doctor understanding or training in postpartum depression. I’ve asked a lot of women who have had a baby if their pediatrician or general physician ever asked how the mother was doing during all the after birth baby check ups. I was always answered with a resounding “no”. I think that’s a shame. While it’s not the pediatrician’s job to ask the mother this, it is the doctor who sees the mother the most often (assuming the mother is bringing in the baby for check ups). There should be more follow up and more information given to mothers so that new moms can have a better understanding of what may be going on with them to help them seek help.
So here’s the real question:
Can yoga help with postpartum depression?
Many people think so. Check out some great articles on yoga helping with postpartum depression:
There are many, many more articles online like this. It’s safe to say that yoga can be part of an effective treatment for postpartum depression (possibly along with therapy and medication).
Yoga reduces stress, helps us relax, and aids us in reconnecting with our truest self. It only makes sense that yoga would be a great treatment for not only depression, but for postpartum depression as well.
I hope you’ll forgive me for not posting any pictures of specific asanas for postpartum depression this week, as I’m still feeling a bit under the weather. I’m definitely thinking a video of a yoga sequence for PPD is in the works soon, though, so stay tuned.
I want to dedicate this post to my two beautiful sister in laws, who gave birth to the two cutest nephews an aunt could ask for this year. Watching you two become mothers has been a joy I never knew existed. I also want to dedicate this post to my mother and mother in law, because even though I’m not a mother myself, I can only imagine how much work you put in to raising me and my husband. Thank you for all you have done and continue to do for us. This post is also dedicated to all mothers, who may or may not have experienced postpartum depression. I hope you all know that you are never alone. And, finally, to the women in my life who are expecting – please know that you have support when you embark on motherhood, and I can’t wait to watch it all unfold. 🙂
Happy OM’ing and Namaste. ❤
Have you or someone you known ever experienced postpartum depression? What are some things that helped you during that time?
Hatchuel, E. (2014). The stigma of postpartum depression. Retrieved from http://www.evolveclinicalservices.com/blog/85-the-stigma-of-postpartum-depression
Mayo Clinic. (2015). Diseases and conditions: postpartum depression. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/postpartum-depression/basics/symptoms/con-20029130
Postpartum Progress. (n.d.). The statistics. Retrieved from http://postpartumprogress.org/the-facts-about-postpartum-depression/
Smith, M., Segal, J. (2015). Postpartum depression and the baby blues. Retrieved from http://www.helpguide.org/articles/depression/postpartum-depression-and-the-baby-blues.htm
Womenshealth.gov. (2012). Depression during and after pregnancy fact sheet. Retrieved from https://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/depression-pregnancy.html#e