Single Moms And Postpartum Depression
Postpartum depression (or PPD), which also is known as postnatal depression, is a condition which affects up to 20 percent of women who have recently given birth. It's sometimes mistakenly referred to as the "baby blues," which is the sudden decrease in pregnancy hormones that makes many women feel a bit down and weepy for a few days after they've had a baby. But PPD goes on for longer than the baby blues; perhaps for weeks and even months after the birth. It may leave a mother feeling sad and angry and unable to cope with caring for her baby. In its most severe (but extremely rare) form, known as postpartum psychosis, it can make a woman feel suicidal or compelled to physically harm her baby. Although public awareness of PPD is increasing and the condition is losing some of its taboo status, many women are still reluctant to seek help for their symptoms and PPD often goes undiagnosed. A single Mom may be especially afraid to ask for help for fear that she will be judged and deemed unfit to care for her baby. This is very understandable, but if you are a single Mom with symptoms of PPD, it's vital that you do go to your healthcare provider and ask for help. You don't have a partner to lean on. You need to be fit and healthy, both physically and mentally, in order to care for yourself and your child.
Who Gets PPD?
The answer to this question is, quite simply, anyone. Mothers both young and older and can suffer from PPD. Some women have it with each birth and some women experience it for the first time having already had several births without any symptoms at all. No one is really sure exactly why some women get it and others don't, although it can be caused by pre-existing medical conditions such as thyroid problems. One thing is for certain though - you don't have PPD because you are a single mother. And your doctors will know that. They've seen enough married women with PPD to know that it doesn't make any difference. What may be true, however, is that the pressure of managing a baby on your own could be exacerbating your symptoms. In this case, your doctors will help you find ways to get support in caring for your baby, so that you can recover.
PPD is usually treated through a combination of talk therapies and (depending on the severity of the case) medication, such as anti-depressants. When you do go to your doctor for help, he or she will be able to put you in touch with support groups, which may include other women who suffer from the same condition. You'll soon see just how many people have been in the same situation as you and still managed to get through it. You doctor will also be able to arrange counseling and decide whether prescription medication is required. PPD is usually treated on an out-patient basis and is always treated with the aim keeping mother and baby together in a healthy, loving and safe environment.
If you think you might be suffering from PPD, take a look at our list of symptoms and then get yourself an appointment with your doctor right away. Single Moms have often prepared themselves mentally for the challenges of raising their babies alone and can be somewhat thrown when they find that despite all their determination, things are still difficult for them. You should not be afraid to ask for help. It's not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength; the strength to do what's needed to give your baby the best possible start in life.