Mommy Blues: Understanding Postpartum Depression
Karen Taylor Bass, WE NYC Mentor
Karen Taylor Bass - Taylor Made Media, LLC

Trust me, I am not a Debbie Downer. However, as we approach the time of year around Thanksgiving and Christmas when the incidence of depression reaches an annual high, we must be our sister’s keeper.

Real talk: Postpartum depression (PPD) is recognized as moms’ silent killer. One in eight mothers will be affected. PPD is a clinical depression usually affecting women right after childbirth, and can last anywhere from a few months to years. It is also super scary.

I understand PPD because I experienced it when my daughter, Sofia, was a mere six days old. I was not treated with medication, but the anxiety, depression and panic attacks did stop me from working or leaving the house for at least 12 months. I battled back and got help.

Personally, my saving grace was building a bond with my baby while breastfeeding during that low point. Taking baby steps toward a connection with my child kept me semi-sane and hopeful. Unfortunately, some women are so debilitated by PPD that making this connection with the baby isn’t possible.

To all the moms suffering with PPD, know you are not alone. I empower you to press reset, seek professional help, tap into your inner strength and most importantly, NEVER give up.

Karen Taylor Bass

It’s time to press reset and start having an honest dialogue about your mental state. If you’re about to give birth or have just given birth – or if you know a woman who has – you should know the symptoms of PPD. These symptoms indicate more than just a case of the “baby blues” and generally get worse over a period of time:

  • Restlessness, anger or irritability
  • Crying
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Fear of hurting your baby or yourself
  • Overly worried about the baby or not concerned about the baby at all
  • Little or no energy
  • Headaches, chest pains, rapid heartbeat, numbness or tingling in the hands or feet, or fast and shallow breathing
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Poor eating habits
  • Trouble focusing, remembering or making decisions
  • Little interest in things you used to enjoy, including sex

Post-Partum Progress says that, in fact, more mothers will suffer from postpartum depression and related illnesses this year than the combined number of new cases for both sexes of tuberculosis, leukemia, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and epilepsy.

To all the moms suffering with PPD, know you are not alone. I empower you to press reset, seek professional help, tap into your inner strength and most importantly, NEVER give up.

Tips to reclaim yourself:

  • Recognize and understand you have PPD.
  • Pray for guidance and strength.
  • Take baby steps: walk to the corner, leave the house, hold your baby for a few seconds more each day.
  • You must let someone into the darkness.
  • Make your mind up; it’s your business to commit to getting better and off medication (if prescribed). You can beat this with W-I-L-L!
  • No judgments. Stop beating yourself up.
  • Meditate on a time in your life when you felt powerful and in charge. Each time you get anxious, remember to simply exhale.
  • Say this prayer every day and journal as often as you can to release your fears and create new beginnings.

Karen Taylor Bass’ reset:

  • Believe in your heart – not your mind.
  • Know you deserve a fresh start.
  • Have the power to trust.
  • Recognize the mind is powerful; however, the heart can be the deciding factor when you want to win.
  • Release yourself today: extend your arms, close your eyes, release all of your expectations and turn yourself over to a higher power.
  • With faith comes confidence, belief, guts.