After giving birth, there are more changes in a woman’s life aside from getting less sleep through the night.
And for some, those changes include mental health changes.
“This is Hendrick, he’s 2 and a half, he’ll be 3 in June and this is Graham, and he is almost 9 months,” Bridget Page said.
After Page had two miscarriages, she finally gave birth to her first child Hendrick.
“Everyone, when he came out said aren’t you just so excited and so happy to have him? And I knew I was supposed to be, but I didn’t feel that way. I just felt incredibly fragile and sad and overwhelmed,” Page said.
While Page felt excited throughout the pregnancy, something changed after giving birth.
“I didn’t feel the connection that I felt like I should have. I knew I was supposed to love this little baby… and I just didn’t feel it. I didn’t feel like myself,” Page said.
She was experiencing postpartum depression, something she learned about after hearing another woman’s story a few years earlier.
“I remember her describing having all kinds of thoughts about her baby, like loving him and wanting to be with him, and then also having these thoughts of wanting to put him in a trash can, and that was so jarring that it stuck in my mind,” Page said.
Postpartum depression can develop for various reasons, such as physical changes like a dramatic drop in hormones, and emotional changes such as anxiety according to Mayo Clinic.
“There can be sadness, withdrawn, or there also can be an anxiety that actually is constant thinking,” Karla Salem said.
Salem says postpartum depression has a variety of symptoms. Feeling overwhelmed is one of the most common.
“It not only can be an over thinking, but it can also stir up some very disturbing, disturbing thoughts. And folks feel if they thought them, than maybe they are capable of doing something,” Salem said.
Experts say there are many different forms of treatment when it comes to dealing with postpartum depression.
Light therapy, speaking with a counselor, and taking medication are just a few.
“I asked my husband for more help, in specific ways that I needed help and then also got on medication that really changed the chemicals that were out of whack, and that helped tremendously,” Page said.
With the tools to deal with her postpartum depression, Page’s second pregnancy was an entirely new experience.
“I said to my husband and everyone else, now I understand what this experience is supposed to be like, and why women say oh my gosh I just love having a baby, I love him, I want to be with him,” Page said.
If you are experiencing symptoms like these, speaking with your doctor should be your next step.
For more information about identifying postpartum depression, click here.