So yesterday, Gabby and I went to the doctor, again, this time for mommy because the doctor wanted to screen mommy for post partum depression. I’m so glad that the doctor did that because, scarily enough, many women don’t get information about PPD during their routine pre-natal care or at childbirth education classes. It’s scary because it is unlike the run of the mill depression that is not associated with having children, at least for me. For me, it was a matter of degree. I think that everyone gets depressed at some time or another, but the PPD thing was really bad. It was much worse than just feeling sad or upset about something. You cry for no reason and with unpredictability – you never know when you’re going to cry and you cry at things that you wouldn’t normally cry at, like looking at your baby (seriously). You get stressed out and anxious about the most mundane things – going to the supermarket or to the pharmacy with your baby. The worst part is feeling lonely all the time and the sense of isolation you get and it can drive people off their rocker. So as you can see, it’s really important to either ask for help if you need it and/or for pediatricians/obstetricians and Primary Care doctors to screen for it. Because you can get PPD at anytime for the YEAR following when you give birth and as many as 20% of all women that give birth will be diagnosed with it.
And it’s actually really easily treated. Most women do a combination of counseling and meds -usually a low dose antidepressant like Zoloft – and then do really well. But if left untreated, PPD can be utterly devastating – it has negative impacts not just on the person suffering from it but also on their partners and their families.