Monday, June 6, 2011

the battle with PPD

The National Center for Biotechnology Information of the US National Library of Medicine defines postpartum depression (PPD) as moderate to severe depression in a woman after she has given birth. It may occur soon after delivery or up to a year later. Most of the time, it occurs within the first 3 months after delivery.

Women commonly have mood changes during pregnancy, especially after delivery. These mood changes may be caused by changes in hormone levels. Many non-hormonal factors may also affect mood during this period:

  • Changes in your body from pregnancy and delivery

  • Changes in work and social relationships

  • Having less time and freedom for yourself

  • Lack of sleep

  • Worries about your ability as a mother

- - - - -

I had been wary of getting postpartum blues months before I gave birth. I remember having a convo with a friend who encouraged me not to succumb to PPD. Of course I said I won't, who wants to be depressed right?

But weeks after Yohann was born, I found myself face to face with an enemy called PPD. It was real after all. 

At first I didn't entertain it, but it slowly made its presence felt after the visitors and well-wishers had stopped coming to our home. When we had settled into our new routine - the Daddy leaving for work, me getting up and taking care of the baby - was when I started to feel the blues. Imagine me having to take care of the baby, bathe him, feed him, pacify him, change his nappies day in and day out. I had to do these on my own most of the time as we had no one living with us. I skipped meals a lot of times as I could not put the baby down long enough to cook a decent meal. To make matters worse, I was anxious that Yohann wasn't getting as much milk from me as he should because I wasn't producing enough. He was always latched onto me, sometimes falling asleep while feeding. And when I would put him down, he would cry and wake up. So I ended up carrying him the whole time as he slept (which was a lot!)

That was our daily routine. The only thing that changed was Daddy's working hours. It got more and more frustrating by the day, the fact that I couldn't put the baby down while he slept. The laundry was left in a huge pile, the house needed cleaning, bedsheets and pillowcases had to be changed. And one night, Yohann started to have these crying fits where nothing could pacify him. He would cry for 30 minutes to an hour, and I would feel so helpless not knowing what he wanted. He would eventually fall asleep, tired, his eyes puffy from all the crying.

It was during this time, too, that I had offers to work as a virtual assistant. I badly wanted to start working and earning again. However, with the way things were going, I couldn't spend enough hours on the laptop to do the needed tasks. This again left me feeling very frustrated.

It took me several weeks to finally break down and admit that I was feeling the PPD blues. One night the hubby came home and I broke down in tears, asking if we can go home to my sister so she could help me with the baby. That was the only time I told the hubby what I felt, so I guess he too was surprised. Much as I loved Yohann, I was feeling inadequate and helpless. And stressed out, too. This made me feel very guilty. I didn't want him to think that I was complaining and all, but I did feel tired, really.

I guess he felt sorry for me then, and next thing I knew, he called his mom to come and stay with us for a while. Ma had stayed with us previously, but had to come home after a week. I wasn't feeling anything yet at the time she was with us, but I did appreciate her presence. I had her to talk to during the day, and much to my embarrassment she took care of the cooking and the laundry while she was here.

So Ma came again to stay with us for several days. One day we were watching TV and I was carrying Yohann while he slept and fed. I told her, "This is what we do all day, Ma." She quietly replied, "Cherish every moment."  

Just like that, I felt the heaviness break its hold on me. I suddenly felt relieved. Performing my mommy duties no longer felt like an obligation. The realization suddenly hit me, Yohann will only be a baby for a short time, soon he'll grow up and I wouldn't be able to carry him like this any more. 

The feeling of helplessness and fatigue has already left me. We've already found ways to make Yohann want to be put down for naps, and he has been feeding adequately. He has gotten bigger and heavier, and yes, harder to carry for longer amounts of time. However, I've learned how to better take care of myself so that I can take care of him better too. I may be eating less, but I make it a point to at least eat something in lieu of a decent meal. He already sleeps through the night, which means I also get a good amount of rest. When we get bored alone at home, I run to my sisters' homes so we have some company to enjoy. Yohann has also grown more interactive and already enjoys being talked to. His waking hours are longer and playtime with him is something I look forward to. I still feel tired at the end of the day, but no longer frustrated and stressed out. I may not be working and earning anything yet, but mommyhood is full-time work.

Indeed, the best way to beat those PPD blues is to cherish.every.moment. :) 


  1. Awww moms knows best tlaga. I'm glad ok ka na sistah. Cherish every moment na nga lang. Hugssss

  2. very touching..."cherish every moment"...the best advised you can get! =)

  3. :) ateeeng. i feel you. :) haha. hindi ako makapagblog, puro cherish lang. shet. :))

  4. good to know na nakapag adjust kana agad. Good Job Mmy Mei!

  5. galing! Good job indeed! =) God bless.

  6. hahahaha natawa ako ateng!!! cherish lang nang cherish kahit walang blog basta wag lang luka :))

  7. indeed :) thanks mau! nice to meet you here :)

  8. korek, kaya nakinig talaga ako :) thanks thanks sistah, puro cherish na ako from now on :)

  9. it helped na may mga tao who were praying for me the whole time :) thanks mommy tiks! happy birthday kay kuya Carl! :)

  10. and good thing na nagsabi ka and monmon and ma were there to the rescue. answered prayer mo sila. =) hugs, mamei! mwah!

  11. wow...communication talaga is important. buti na lang at okay ka na. cherish every moment. lilipas din yung pagpupuyat sa gabi and all those. after nun...cute na lang sila madalas :)

  12. actually, di ako nagsasabi. hehe.. feeling ko kasi pag sinabi ko lalo siyang magkakatotoo. haha, denial queen din eh! thanks bwu! :*

  13. you're welcome yaya! shineshare ko baka sakaling makatulong pag kayo na rin naging mommy :)

  14. korek ka jan, jas :)

    medyo madalas nang cute na lang si yohann, bilis din lumaki eh :)

  15. oo...then before you know it nagschool na siya and then before maghighschool take the chance to hug and kiss him kase minsan ayaw na nila lao na boy siya hehe :)

  16. haha! wag naman highschool agad! matrikula naiisip ko! lol.