Take care of yourself.

Today's post is brought to us by Ashley Lasher, LCSW , a guest speaker for TAPS groups and a local therapist specializing in the emotional challenges that face new parents. Ashley is passionate about not only helping new parents through the tough changes and challenges that we face, but also about educating people about Perinatal Mood and Anxiety disorders so that parents start their parenting journey with a plan. When I chatted with Ashley recently, she reminded me that many people wait till they are in a deep depression or experiencing uncontrollable anxiety before asking for help. And we agreed, it's ok to ask for help before it gets that bad!

So, while some of you may read this blog and think, "Well, I've felt bad, but not quite that bad." or "I've taken the test that my OB/midwife gives and I passed, but things just don't feel quite right." You're not alone and you don't have to wait to ask for help. Lasher offer's free 15 minute consultations and would love to answer your questions. 

*This blog post was originally posted under the title, "Post-Partum: Parenting is Hard" on Lasher's website. https://www.ashleylasherlcsw.com/* 

Parenting is hard.

"So many questions; so many (different) answers. Let’s talk Post-Partum.

What does it feel like to have postpartum depression or postpartum anxiety?  What are the signs/symptoms? How do you know when you have it? And if you do have it, what should you do?

These are all great questions. Let’s first talk about symptoms.

Sadness. Irritability. Guilt. Anger. Resentful. Bouts of Crying. Confused. Scared. Numb. Impatient. Empty. Hopeless. Disconnected. Worried. Afraid. Panic Attacks. Decreased appetite. Increase appetite. Difficulty sleeping. Too much sleep. Too little sleep. Difficulty waking up. Insomnia. Thoughts of harm to self. Thoughts of harm to baby. Stressed. Alone. Tearful. Fatigued. Worthlessness. Mood Swings. Overwhelmed. Difficulty bonding. Withdrawn.

Ok, that’s enough to make anyone feel pretty crummy. Here’s the reality: it’s estimated that about 10-15% of women experience PPD. That’s a lot of women! Also, remember – these numbers are based on women who report symptoms. In reality, many women feel shame and guilt which leads to under-reporting symptoms. Or maybe they lack a support system. Or maybe don’t know how to get help. Or maybe… (I could go on and on).

Postpartum depression and anxiety are not “one-size-fits-all” illnesses.

Here are some important things to remember about PPD:

  •  You may not be experiencing all of the symptoms listed or even most of them. Postpartum depression and anxiety are not “one-size-fits-all” illnesses.
  • We all have bad days. Postpartum depression and anxiety are not just bad days. Women with PPD or anxiety have symptoms like these most of the time, for a period of at least 2 weeks or longer, and these symptoms make it feel very hard to live your life each day.

So, what about baby blues?

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIH),  up to 80 percent of new mothers experience the baby blues which is described as an emotional state of tearfulness, unhappiness, worry, self-doubt, and fatigue. The baby blues typically begin a few days after delivery and go away on their own within a week or two.

Why is it important to seek treatment?

Treatment provides the support you need to keep you from slipping into a deep depression that's harder to get out of. Also, having a therapist and health care provider who understand your condition can help you feel less alone and feeling better means you can bond more easily with your baby and be able to take better care of him/her.

Don’t wait to get help. Talk to someone. Therapy is great for so many reasons. You’ll get dressed, out of the house, talk with another adult, and work on you. Self-care is so important! Hesitant? Let’s talk! I offer free 15 minute phone consults. I’m passionate about helping other moms.

Final Thought..

Remember, you created a human. Give yourself credit for the life you brought into this world and the commitment you made when deciding to become a parent.

As someone once told me, if you’re worried about being a good parent, you already are!

If you or someone you know needs help:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)."