Know what to look for.
You're not alone.
I was certain something was going to take her away from me, that my time with her was limited. My fear made us prisoner to our home, our safe space. I wanted to run with her to keep her from everyone and anything that could harm her. Going to the grocery store was no longer a chore, it appeared life-threatening.
Depressed mothers are at very high risk to stop breastfeeding by eight weeks postpartum. But this is because depression often negatively colours mothers' cognitive perceptions which interferes with their ability to accurately interpret their baby's cues.
"Depression is among the leading causes of disability in persons 15 years and older."
Oh the joys of becoming a new mom! Oh the bliss! You're the vision of beauty, a natural mom! The happy, helpful husband by your side! The overbearing grandparents and relatives who spoil your baby boy or girl with gifts and hugs and kisses! The perfect baby who sleeps all night and never cries! Who are we kidding?
Before I delivered by first son I knew basically nothing about post-delivery recovery. I knew a minimal amount from medical school. There would be bleeding and soreness. I didn't need a medical degree to assume that. What to really expect was a mystery. These aren't things that moms and moms-to-be discuss very often, at least not in my social circle.
When I saw Marian, I was shocked. One year after giving birth, she was 35 pounds heavier than her pre-pregnancy weight. She also felt very stressed, and was unable to sleep soundly at night. She had lost any sexual desire, had not menstruated since giving birth, and suffered from skin itchiness, crankiness, breast tenderness and bloating.
At long last, people are talking about postpartum depression. Dismissed for years as no more than a touch of the baby blues (or else unheard of entirely), PPD has become an open subject. But despite this progress, postpartum depression remains misunderstood in one very critical regard: namely, that it's something that only happens to, and thus only adversely affects, mothers.
Imagine a time you totally lost your temper. When you were so consumed by anger you felt it as a physical thing, adrenaline racing through your body and blocking out all rational thought. When your first instinct, as though it were primal, was to throw something so it would shatter into a thousand pieces and break whatever spell had overtaken you.