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Baby Blues or Post Partum Depression?: What Every Black Mom Needs to Know

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There’s baby blues and then there’s something more. Depression is still a taboo topic in our community, but knowing the signs of post partum depression is the best thing you can do for you and your baby. Learn the difference.

 

Baby Blues or Post Partum Depression? What Every Black Parent Needs to Know

By MochaManual.com Staff     

      Just had a baby? Feeling sad or depressed? Don’t worry you are not alone. One in 8 women are affected with postpartum Depression within the first months after childbirth. Every black mother should know the signs.

DEPRESSION AMONG BLACK WOMEN

 Even more striking, depression among black women is more common than you think. African-American women live with a triple jeopardy status that places us at a greater risk for depression.  We live in a majority-dominated society that frequently devalues our ethnicity, culture and gender.      

Formal statistics on depression in African American women are either uncertain or non-existent because the research is scarce. Many women are unwilling to participate in research studies because they are afraid the information will be misinterpreted and will be used against them. The few studies that have been done show African American women report having more depressive symptoms than African American men and twice the rate of European Caucasian women.      

If you’ve never heard of postpartum depression or would like to know more about what it is , it is a serious illness that can not only happen with women who have just given birth but it can also affect mothers who have had a miscarriage or still birth.  

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?       

It’s important to know that there is a difference between the “baby blues” and PPD The baby blues will occur in many women within the first weeks of having their child.  With the blues, you may have trouble sleeping and feel moody, teary, and overwhelmed. You may have these feelings along with being happy about your baby. But the “baby blues” usually go away within a couple of weeks. The symptoms of postpartum depression can last for months.      

PPD can make you feel very hopeless and worthless. You may also feel as though you are unable to care for or bond with your baby. Below are a few ways to Diagnose if you have PPD: 

THE SIGNS OF PPD: * You feel extremely sad , hopeless and empty inside with severe anxiety. Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, with no reasonable cause.* Loss of pleasure in either all or almost all of your daily activities.* Appetite and weight loss-usually a drop in appetite and weight, but sometimes the opposite.* Sleep problems-usually trouble with sleeping, even when your baby is sleeping.* Difficulty concentrating and making decisions.

* Suicidal thoughts or frightening thoughts of harming your baby; these thoughts tend to be fearful thoughts, rather than urges to harm.

WHAT TO DO:     

If these symptoms occur, see your doctor immediately. And talk about your pain. Find support in your community of family and friends. Do not hide it. We actually perpetuate the dysfunction of mental unhealthiness when we don’t acknowledge our pain or seek help. Please do not allow the stigma of mental illness or the strong black woman syndrome to get in the way of getting the treatment you need. Depression is an illness of the brain, not a character defect or a moral failing.

There is a way to cure PPD, with counseling and anti-depressant medication. Women with milder depression are more likely to improve with just counseling but many women who have PPD need both the counseling and anti-depressants for their treatment to be more effective. This information can be a bit frightening and you may be wondering if you take anti depressants will you be on medication for the rest of your life? that is not always the case. But think of what is best for your health and your child. Early treatment of PPD is important for both you and your baby. It may be helpful to make a list of postpartum depression symptoms that you can take to your doctor. 

The good news is that if you seek a doctor you will definitely be on the right track to a speedy recovery. 

 

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