I never thought I'd be writing about this! It's one of those things you read about in all the pregnancy magazines but never think will happen to you. Especially after having pre-natal depression with my first and being in a wonderful mood afterwards!
The first couple weeks are always a roller coaster, but this was something different. I couldn't sleep hardly at all, even when baby was sleeping. (I also came home from the hospital sick which didn't help.) Waves of feeling out of control, scared for no reason, on edge, or just really down would just sweep over me for no reason. Pretty much everything I thought about was either really scary or really negative.
There are people who attach other causes as well as the physical to PPD- things like circumstances, being overwhelmed as a mom, nervous about the baby, sleep deprivation, spiritual issues, etc. I can tell you that just like any other mom, I had those things going on too, but NONE of them was causing the PPD. For me anyway, it was all physical, all brain chemistry, caused by hormones. Why some get it while others don't is a mystery. I think genetic predisposition, diet, & how well you took care of yourself during pregnancy all play major roles though.
After 4 months I am feeling like myself again! I just wanted to share what helped me in case someone could benefit from it....
- Prayer! I actually couldn't really pray those first few weeks. I mean I could barely keep a thought in my head at all. All I could do was just tell myself over & over, "This will get better." But I only knew that because of my hope in Christ. Without Him nothing really ever stays better, and with Him things will eventually and certainly be better forever. I knew all of that deep down, and that can honestly help you through anything.
- Friends & Family. My mom & mom-in-law came took turns staying with us & watching big brother. Without them, I don't know what I would've done. My mom also encouraged me to find solutions and also keep perspective, that it won't be like this forever. My husband, of course, was a huge encouragement and blessing to put up with me! I had friends bringing meals, watching my older son, and helping out in other ways. If you don't have someone to help you, ask for it! If people offer, don't say no! Make a list beforehand of ways people can help in case someone calls or asks in passing.
- Progesterone. I am a member of an awesome online community, and a sweet lady from there suggested that natural, bio-identical progesterone cream would help me. I blew it off at first, but as I became desperate, I started checking into it. It just so happened that a friend of mine worked at a clinic that prescribes it, so I made an appointment. The day after I adjusted my dose to the correct dose, I felt amazingly better! I won't get into all of why it helps, because this post is already so long, but here are a couple articles on it... HERE and HERE. After starting it, I could sleep again, & my moods were calmer & more even. I take 100 mg a day which is more than twice the normal dose. I am going to try weaning down soon and see how I do. HERE is an even more natural form of progesterone that's supposed to be really good & effective. (order here)
- But I kept getting these relapses. In the evenings, my depression would creep back in for a couple of hours. Or I would be fine for a couple weeks and then it would hit hard again for 2-3 days. Another lady from the same online community who was a midwife suggested St. John's Wort. I thought it was worth a shot. After 3 days, my depression was pretty much gone and has not come back at all! I feel better than I did before I got pregnant, the way I did while on anti-depressants for a stint in college! I would highly suggest SJW to anyone struggling with mild to moderate depression who is leary of starting anti-depressants. Some info...HERE.
- Other things that may help: Getting some sun every day, exercise, diet change, more sleep, therapy, fish oil, and getting OUT of the house every once in awhile. :) While these things will probably help if you have the Baby Blues, they will likely only put a dent in full fledged PPD. For that, I think one or more of the above suggestions are really necessary. Sam-E is another well studied natural depression fighter. I just haven't tried it because the SJW is working so well for me.