Becoming a parent is a moment of joy and pride. Years of yearning and love are carefully constructed and it only grows tenfold when you hear your child’s first cry as they come into this world. Being a parent is a momentous occasion, but hardships are also attached to the joys of becoming a parent.
When your baby is born, it’s all about excitement and nervousness. There’s the excitement of expanding your family and the nervousness of being responsible for a tiny human. However, pregnant individuals and even their partners find that the expectations of becoming parents don’t often align with what they’re experiencing.
This could be because of postpartum depression or PPD. Many new parents – the mother and father – are at risk of developing symptoms of postpartum depression.
While PPD can be distressing for the parents and the child, the myths about postpartum depression worsen them. PPD, in itself, is scary, anxious, and confusing, and the misconceptions about postpartum depression only prevent new parents from seeking the help they need.
In this blog, I’ve compiled some common myths about postpartum depression and the truths about PPD that you should know about. Only by truly understanding the truth about PPD can you stop the depression after childbirth from impairing your health and well-being.
Myths And Facts About Postpartum Depression Myth #1: Postpartum depression causes you to harm your baby
The one thing you need to understand is that postpartum depression symptoms do not cause you to harm yourself, your baby, or others. Some people with severe symptoms of PPD may experience suicidal thoughts but it does not make them harm others. Postpartum psychosis might cause self-harm or harmful actions but not postpartum depression.
Some common symptoms of postpartum depression may include;
Intense feelings of sadness
Feeling anxious, ashamed, hopeless, and guilty
Experiencing frequent mood swings
Not able to make decisions
Feeling distracted and indecisive
Experiencing chronic exhaustion
Changes in appetite
Myth #2: Only the mother can have postpartum depression
Another common myth about postpartum depression is that only the parent who gives birth may experience it. In a study, it was found that almost 8-10% of parents (especially the spouse or the partner of the parent giving birth) experienced symptoms of postpartum depression.
While the symptoms experienced by partners might differ from those of the parent giving birth, PPD still affects both parents.
Myth #3: Postpartum depression fades away on its own
Postpartum depression is a mental health condition that requires proper diagnosis and treatment. Depression has long been treated as a mindset instead of a mental health disorder and because of this, it is believed that just like any other negative mindset, PPD can fade away on its own. It’s not true.
It is believed that PPD symptoms can last for at least three years if not more. And while the symptoms can be distressing for the parents, with the right intervention and treatment, recovery is possible.
Myth #4: If you have postpartum depression, it’s a sign that you’ll be a bad parent
Many people believe the PPD myth that if you have postpartum depression, then it’s a reflection of your parenting skills. Not true! You can’t be named a bad parent if you catch the flu, can you? PPD is a treatable condition that does not reflect your parenting abilities.
Developing postpartum depression is not your fault. Just like other mental health disorders, the development of PPD lies in biological factors, situational factors, and even economic factors.
Myth #5: Postpartum depression is self-diagnosable
You can go visit a good deal of online parenting websites and self-diagnose a condition that you might not have. It’s the truth. We’re all bad at understanding what we’re going through based on others’ experiences. Each person is unique and so are their experiences. There are even times when a person might be struggling with PPD and might not even know.
Depression after childbirth is not uncommon but many people confuse the overwhelming feelings and exhaustion as signs of postpartum depression. If you’re unsure about your condition, it is recommended you speak to a professional for an appropriate diagnosis and treatment.
Myth #6: Postpartum depression develops soon after childbirth
Another common myth about postpartum depression is that people believe the onset of PPD begins right after childbirth. The fact is that postpartum depression can develop weeks or months after the birth of the child. Typically, the symptoms of PPD become noticeable in the first 3–6 weeks of childbirth, but it is believed that the symptoms can manifest months later too.
The onset of symptoms varies from person to person. But just because you didn’t develop the symptoms of PPD after childbirth does not mean that you won’t develop them months later either.
Baby blues or postpartum depression is a serious mental health condition that should not be left unaddressed or untreated. While the myths about postpartum depression may not be true, it doesn’t mean that it’s completely harmless. If the symptoms of PPD are severe enough to interfere in almost every aspect of your and your child’s life, then it is recommended that you speak to your doctor for more information.
Just because you’re diagnosed with postpartum depression does not make you a bad parent or a negative person. If your symptoms of PPD last for more than two weeks and make you experience intense feelings of irritability, guilt, and sadness, then you need to consider speaking to your doctor.
I hope this article debunked the common myths about postpartum depression you might’ve had. For more, you can write to us at email@example.com or leave us a message on our social media.
You can also share your experiences and thoughts about these PPD myths in the comments below.