A woman embraces another woman who is looking depressed under a raincloud

How My Doula Helped Me Spot the Signs of Postpartum Depression

In 2018, we met our excellent doula, Vanessa Johnson, via a referral and immediately knew she would be the one. Her fantastic energy radiated, and right away, I felt so comfortable. Little did we know just how vital this connection would be when it came to understanding not only what to expect during pregnancy and labor and delivery, but also during post-natal care.

Postpartum doula support

Vanessa spoke to us about how postpartum depression can creep up on unsuspecting mothers, and how their partners often miss these crucial signs of depression mainly due to a lack of knowledge.

Our doula made sure to educate not only me but my husband as well on how to check in with me and watch for signs. Now, I must admit that I have a background in acting, and my life experiences showed me how to have a great poker face. So, while my husband was excellent in checking in on me, I was pretty good at telling him that I was OK!

My story inspired me to share my experience to help other moms navigate postpartum depression and understand the importance of early detection and coping mechanisms with the help of a doula.

Working with a doula

We enlisted the services of a doula to help with our prenatal appointments, and it was magical how compassionate and supportive she was.

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Our doula became our most prominent advocate in monitoring the signs and symptoms of postpartum depression, especially since she noticed the subtle differences that we missed. She helped establish a nurturing and supportive environment that was less clinical, more family-oriented, and better for our overall experience.

My doula helped me spot symptoms and speak up

Thanks to our doula, I learned to speak up for myself during prenatal doctor appointments. It can be challenging to identify the common symptoms of postpartum depression when you're already overwhelmed.

Our doula helped us spot some of the early warning signs of postpartum depression, including feelings of sadness, hopelessness, extreme fatigue, anxiety, difficulty bonding with your baby, and mood swings.

Possible signs of postpartum depression

PPD symptoms can manifest any time after the baby's delivery. Some of my symptoms included:

  • Persistent sadness, an overwhelming feeling of emptiness
  • Intense fatigue, a lack of energy
  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Loss of interest in activities I usually enjoyed
  • Feelings of worthlessness and guilt
  • Changes in appetite
  • Prolonged crying spells

Stigma around postpartum depression

Sadly, there is a stigma associated with postpartum depression, which can be incredibly isolating. Many women feel ashamed, embarrassed, or guilty about their PPD and often try to power through it without seeking help.

It's essential to remember that postpartum depression can happen to anyone, regardless of their race, income, or socioeconomic status. Still, there's an even more significant stigma for women of color, particularly in the Black community, that it's somehow a weakness or a failure to have depression.

Coping with PPD

Remember, getting help for PPD isn't a sign of weakness. It's a sign of strength. If you think you or a loved one may have PPD, remember to:

  • Speak up and tell your care team
  • Seek support from loved ones that you trust
  • Take advantage of preventive programs that help people with high risks of PPD
  • Practice self-care such as exercising, eating well, and getting enough sleep
  • Consider psychotherapy sessions with a licensed mental health therapist
  • Join a support group to connect with other moms experiencing postpartum depression

The importance of a supportive network

Having a support system can be instrumental in your recovery journey from postpartum depression. Don't forget to lean on your partner, family, and friends, and don't be afraid to ask for help.

Perhaps you'll also want to consider a doula for guidance during private moments, such as breastfeeding, as well as for other poignant moments as you comfortably navigate your way through motherhood.

You're not alone

Overall, postpartum depression is a common condition that affects many new moms. With the support of a doula, you may be able to identify the signs and symptoms early on and get the help you need to cope with it.

Remember to break the stigma surrounding PPD by speaking up and seeking support. Most importantly, take care of yourself and know you're not alone. You can beat PPD.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Postpartum.Mental-Health-Community.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.