Updated: Oct 29, 2018
Maya Angelou once said: "There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you." That quotes rings so loud when thinking about the many mothers that deliver children and go on to suffer in secrecy with postpartum depression. Did you know that 20% of women suffer with depression after given birth. To put things in perspective, that's 1 in 5 women.
Many women feel ashamed or guilty for feeling sad when so many people around them are telling them all the things they have to be happy for. I wish it was that simple. For some, happiness isn't a switch to be turned on and off. There are many physiological, psychological and social factors that all contribute to perinatal depression. Estrogen, which is known to affect mood, sleep and appetite, concentration and memory by modulating serotonin levels, is reported to decline after delivery. This is a major contributing factor. Furthermore, transitioning into mother hood and changing roles can be terrifying. There are so many books that try and prepare women for motherhood but the truth is, there is no manual for parenthood. New mothers especially can suffer from anxiety from being responsible for this new little fragile person who totally depends on them. Not to mention moms who suffer from breastfeeding anxiety. Breastfeeding anxiety is when prior to each feeding, mom may begin to wonder if the milk will be enough, if baby will start to cry, if they will hold baby right etc.
There are so many factors that contribute to postpartum depression. Suffering in secrecy should never be an option. Postpartum Doulas can provide the support and help needed to calm nerves as well as give resources to professional help. Birth is such a magical and glorious experience but also a gateway to the unknown for so many. There is strength in tears and courage in seeking help. Don't carry the weight alone. Share your story with a loved one or provider! You've got this mama!