Double the Blessing, Double the Responsibility
By: Michi Marshall
December 1, 2014
I recently read an article on abouthealth.com that defined POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION (PPD) as:
- Baby Blues that just don’t go away
- Strong Depression, experiencing feelings of hopelessness, of being completely overwhelmed, doubt, or guilt.
- Marked change in appetite
- Chronic fatigue
- Recurrent thoughts of death/suicide
- Previous history of PPD
- Withdrawal from family and friends
- Mood swings
It is important to note that there is a difference between Baby Blues, Post Partum Depression, and Post Partum Psychosis. It is also important to note that men (dads) also experience Postnatal depression; more specifically 1 in 10, typically within the first 3 – 6 months of the child’s life. This is not just a female thing!
Post Partum Depression is any depression that extends beyond 2-3 weeks following birth and can begin at any point in time the 12 months after delivery. PPD is fairly common and reported in about 10-15% of deliveries and is said to be the result of a hormonal imbalance.
This is especially common for mothers of multiples due to their increased hormonal fluctuations. A study conducted in 2001 reported on CNN.com that “mothers of multiple births had 43% greater odds of having moderate or severe postpartum depressive symptoms compared with mothers of single babies.” It is even more shocking that 85% of mothers of multiples experience PPD.
One assumption is that the stress of multiple babies and one reason for PPD is that our bodies go from experiencing such high “highs” in hormone levels during pregnancy, to then hitting bottom very rapidly after delivery. More reasons may be, but not limited to, less sleep and more crying. Also, besides the risks to the mother and various medical conditions that may increase the risk of PPD, multiple babies have a higher infant mortality rate, higher risk of preterm labor, low birth weight and prematurity.
On a less conscious level, one reason may be that the mother’s memories of their childhood may be triggered and likewise the stress of trying to provide a better childhood for their new baby (ies) may also add stress. Understand that different babies trigger different memories you may have been ok with one pregnancy verses another, no two pregnancies are the same.
Treatments for Post Partum Depression include psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy and medication, and some women find that a combination of these work like most treatments for Mental illnesses.
This hits especially close to home for my husband and I since we are 8+ months pregnant with twins, our first children. We have prepared ourselves by researching PPD and understanding that this is a real concern and not something to be taken lightly. Although we put our faith in God, we realize that faith without works is dead (James 2:17), and we needed to do our due diligence and become educated and aware of the complications, as well as, benefits of pregnancy and pregnancy with multiples.
Some practical treatments or everyday practices noted on Twiniversity.com for a mother in general experiencing PPD (or not), may include; telling your partner how you feel, especially if what your experiencing is beyond normal/typical; ask them for help with children when needed or if you need a breather or space, get all your feelings out in the open and don’t be shy about it. Reach out to your local support group, Twin club, or read various posts about PPD, or post a comment or question of your own. If none of these steps are helping call your OB or have your partner call.
For all individuals pregnant or not, trying or not, young or old, who may want a family or not. Please recognize that this is a real illness that many women and men experience and know that it is our responsibility as humans to be understanding and compassionate and educate ourselves as to what is happening around us. Be a listening ear not a judging finger.