One in 10 women in Utah self-report as having postpartum depression. Even though people are more willing to talk about this issue, many experts and moms agree that it’s not talked about enough.
According to Associate Professor Shelly Reed from the BYU College of Nursing, postpartum depression is a type of depression that can start during pregnancy and continue beyond the postpartum period.
In the past, most people called this time after giving birth “the baby blues.” But if feelings like sadness, anxiety, loneliness or aggression continue for weeks after giving birth, it is a sign of depression. Some moms will even experience suicidal thoughts.
When a mother deals with all these symptoms, she can’t take care of herself, her family or any other aspect of her life. And the trickiest part? Most don’t even feel good enough to reach out for help.
Emily Zollinger is a mother of three and has experienced postpartum depression after every birth.
“With my daughter, I didn’t recognize that I even had depression,” Zollinger said, “For me, I was just kind of lethargic and apathetic. It’s something that you feel like isn’t ever going to pass.”
Zollinger expressed thoughts of harming herself as a result of these feelings. She knew she needed help.
Dealing with postpartum depression looks different for every mom, but for Emily Zollinger, it meant reaching out to family and friends — not for sympathy, but for company and relief. She also turned to exercise in the form of kickboxing and dance workouts.
Because her anxiety kept her in the house, Zollinger found another helpful coping mechanism that she could do with her kids: baking. From “Lazy-Mom doughnuts” to new dessert recipes, Zollinger loves involving her kids in a new hobby.
She also recommends to all moms to seek help through counseling and medication if they think it will be useful for them.
Kristin Pyne, an intern at BYU’s Counseling and Psychological Services agrees. She said that it’s helpful to reach out to support groups or group therapy.
“I really want to convey to moms that they are not alone,” Pyne said, “and that this is nothing to be ashamed of.”
If you or someone you know is struggling with postpartum depression, you can take up kickboxing, and you can call the postpartum mom’s hotline at 1-800-773-6667.