Why am I Not Interested in My New Baby?
“One of the problems with postpartum depression is that women usually aren't diagnosed until the disease is already established. If a woman's health care provider knew early on that a patient was slipping down this slope, he or she could intervene. It may not take much to screen for it, either - the questions in the fatigue test that we used took about two to three minutes to answer.” Elizabeth Corwin
Postpartum Depression affects more than 15% of new mothers, but often, as we see from Elizabeth's quote, diagnosis comes after the disease has taken hold. The severity of postpartum depression ranges from woman to woman and situation to situation. What contributes to the delay in early diagnosing of Postpartum Depression is the stigma and lack of understanding surrounding PPD.
When your fresh new baby is placed in your arms and it is the happiest day of your life, you expect it to continue, but for some reason it doesn't. You find yourself feeling detached from your baby, you find yourself taking no interest in your baby. These feelings worry you, you *know* you love your baby, so why are you feeling sad and detached? You convince yourself to just move passed it. With little success you keep on going, but you begin to feel worse.
As the days go on, you find yourself fatigued- but thats normal, I have a new baby and I'm lacking sleep. You find yourself short tempered and snappy at little things. You find yourself uninterested or over interested in eating food. You find yourself becoming reclusive and staying away from your favorite or normal activities. You may even find yourself suicidal or contemplating harming your baby because you just cannot do it anymore. You just are not interested in your baby, your baby you have been waiting for for a long time. You would never share those thoughts out loud because you would never want something to happen to you because deep down you *know* they are not you. This isn't you.
Before sever symptoms start to show, there are little ones, and these little ones are the most important to catch early on. Postpartum support is the most essential addition to postpartum recovery not only for the mother, but the partner and entire family. Some 5% of fathers also suffer from depression after the addition of a new baby. Sometimes environmental factors influence PPD - a new baby and a big move, a new baby and a job loss, a new baby and a family member loss, or sometimes it is just going to hit you.
So if you cannot necessarily prevent Postpartum Depression, what can help?
- Allow yourself to be supported- Postpartum Doulas are the front line defense against postpartum depression. They are there with you for a few hours every day. They are a trusted resource that can answer your questions, support you, listen to you, validate your feelings, and take note of early symptoms.
- Add Placenta Encapsulation- while Placenta encapsulation is not scientifically proven to prevent PPD, many women have found it to be extremely helpful in their postpartum recovery. There is definitely something to the anecdotal benefits.
- Know that you do not have to do this alone - Your motherly status will not be deminished if you have help during your postpartum transition. Yes, your mother or friends did it on their own, but it does not have to be a struggle.