When it comes to having a baby, there’s no doubt that parents will experience a wide range of emotions. From pride and joy to fear and excitement, having a baby, whether it’s for the first or the ninth time, will undoubtedly trigger all kinds of feelings you haven’t felt before. For many, giving birth can also produce a feeling that others would not anticipate: depression.
According to the Mayo Clinic, postpartum depression can occur not only in women but in new fathers as well and it is defined by mood swings, anxiety, sadness, crying and feelings of overwhelm. Many new parents will also experience irritability, reduced concentration, appetite problems and trouble sleeping. But the truth about postpartum depression is that it isn’t just unique to the feelings, in fact, the mood disorder can cause quite a bit of shame and isolation. After all, having a baby should be marked by a period of joy and happiness. But in reality, this isn’t always the case. Despite the fact that many expect new parents to be nothing but elated and a little bit starved for sleep around this time, in reality, PPD is not only very real but also perfectly normal to experience. In fact, according to Postpartum Depression Statistics, “approximately 70% to 80% of women will experience, at a minimum, the ‘baby blues’. Many of these women will experience the more severe condition of postpartum depression or a related condition.”
To get a better understanding of these feelings of depression and how Latinas deal with it in their own circumstances, FIERCE reached out to Latinas for their experiences in dealing with depression after they gave birth and how they learned to deal.
When it comes to PPD, you might feel too ashamed to reach out but there’s no one that will help you quite like your community.
Of course, like anyone dealing with depression, there is often a sense of shame tied to your sadness that will likely prevent you from reaching out at first. After all, when it comes to mental health (particularly in the Latino community) the world has a lot to learn and a lot of coming around to do.
“I am so so thankful for the conversations starting to happen! When I got diagnosed with PPD even though I had resources available to me like therapy and doctors it wasn’t until I found my community of other moms in similar situations that I felt not alone. Community is everything!” – twistedforsugar
Opening up to family can start the healing process.
No doubt about it, reaching out to your amigas, BFFs, and mommy groups will likely help you find the kind of support and love you need to climb the mountain of depression you might be experiencing. But it’s also important to remember that sometimes receiving comfort from your family can be way more helpful than you might have expected. After all, you know who else has likely either dealt with PPD or experienced it first hand for themselves long before you did? Your mama and your papa.
“I was the first to be open about my partum depression in my family. (Prior to that my family didn’t believe it existed). But, now we get to talk about it and it’s so healing!” – karlasturtz
Take a vacation and remember that even though your kids might see you as Wonder Woman, you’re also a real woman with real concerns that should be taken care of.
Yes, mama, you deserve as much attention and love as your newborn too. Don’t worry about reshaping your post-birth body right now. Jump into your favorite bathing suit, head off to your favorite ski sights and do you girl.
“Swear this made me cringe on how I did it twice and big freaken S/O to all those mommas that did it with 5+ kids!! Y’all need a damn holiday named after you wonder women!” – yes.its_still.me11
Just remember, yes you have a baby now so things are different, but you’re still deserving of love, light and a whole lot of patience and self- love.
You know how on flights, attendants always tell you to put your mask on first before you put on someone else’s? PPD kind of works that way too. Of course, you never want to neglect your little one but be sure to be kind to yourself just as you are to your newborn.
“Yea i was definitely NOT prepared for my stomach to be big, and saggy for the first few months after” – thebitchyhippie559
Above all, get professional help.
Self-treatment is never really the most effective or safest way to go. If you think that you have postpartum depression, be sure to reach out to a support group. Postpartumdepression.org has a ton of resources for you here.