The Signs of Postpartum Depression

For many women, pregnancy is a time of joyful anticipation. For nine months, expectant mothers daydream about what their baby will look like, about cuddling and feeding the baby, about how wonderful life will be with the baby. I know I did. When I was pregnant with my first child, I thought about beautiful things every day. I couldn’t wait to hold my little bundle in my arms. Life was going to be perfect.

But once baby had arrived, reality unfolded a completely different scenario. Sure, I was overjoyed to meet my baby. But I wasn’t happy. I didn’t feel like cuddling. Each day seemed to go on forever. I didn’t… enjoy being a mom.

I thought things like, “Is this normal? What’s wrong with me? Why do other new moms seem so happy? What am I doing wrong?” I never seemed to feel better.

It wasn’t until I delivered my second child (and had a completely different postpartum experience) that I realized that my first postpartum experience was a difficult one. Although I was never diagnosed, I believe that I was suffering through postpartum depression.

If you are a postpartum mom and are feeling down, lost, uncomfortable, sad, hopeless, or just unhappy, you might be suffering through some PPD (postpartum depression), too.

Here are some signs of PPD:

According to the mommy-favorite book “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” signs may include:

  • crying and irritability
  • sleep problems
  • eating problems
  • persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and helplessness
  • an inability or lack of desire to care for yourself or your newborn
  • social withdrawal
  • excessive worry
  • aversion to your newborn
  • feeling all alone
  • memory loss

This is a pretty large and comprehensive list. But what I’d like to do is share more specific, real-life examples gathered from my own experience. PPD is not easy to talk about. But if you’re reading this post, I’m glad you’re here. Here are the signs and symptoms of postpartum depression that I experienced.

  • When people would ask me, “don’t you just love being a mom?” I would say something like “oh yeah, it’s great.” But I didn’t really feel that way. In my head, I was saying things like, “no. I hate it. I don’t like being a mom. It’s hard. I can’t do it.”
  • I had no desire to cuddle with my baby. I don’t remember ever just randomly scooping up my baby just to cuddle out of love and affection.
  • I hardly ever smiled or laughed.
  • I was beyond exhausted – I was only getting broken sleep and was seeing hallucinations.
  • I daydreamed about putting baby in the car seat and just driving away – just “escaping” somehow.
  • I felt stuck. I felt like this day-in, day-out job of caring for baby was torturous. I didn’t enjoy it, it was just something I had to do.
  • I felt guilty. “What’s wrong with me? I’m a terrible mom. I suck. I don’t deserve this child.”

These are some of the main signs and symptoms of postpartum depression that I experienced. If you are feeling similar things, you may be suffering through some PPD.

So what’s the next step?

First, tell someone how you’re feeling. Tell anyone – your husband, mom, sister, grandma, friend. Let someone know what you’re going through. This the very first, most important step. Talk. Share how you’re really doing. It’s not easy! I know this, mama. It’s very difficult to talk about it. But be brave. You can do it!

Next, let your listener help you determine the next steps. Should you visit your pastor? Schedule an appointment with a counselor? See a doctor? Let your listener help you. They care about you, and will want to help you in any way they can.

During my PPD journey, I never took the next steps. I was barely able to share with my husband how I was really feeling, and I never spoke with a pastor, counselor, or doctor. Taking these steps would have helped me out; I am sure of that. Speaking out and getting help will be good for you, mama. Share how you feel. You can do it!

If it is determined that you are going through PPD, the next part in your journey will be learning how to cope and recover. I’d like to discuss that in another post. For now, I’d like to give you a hug and help you determine how you really feel. If you are experiencing any of the signs and symptoms of PPD mentioned about, talk to someone about it. Then determine what to do next.

Dear Mama,

I’m glad you’re here. I’m sorry you are feeling the way you do. I’ve been there, and I would never wish that on anyone else. May I pray for you? I will ask that Jesus would send you His love, peace, and grace. I will ask that He would help you find loving people who will listen and walk through this journey with you. I will pray that you will get through this. Jesus loves you, mama. I do too! Hang in there.

Feel free to leave a comment or contact me. Have you gone through PPD before? What were some of your signs? How did you step toward help and recovery?

Healthy Smash Cake: Baby’s First Birthday

Your baby’s first birthday has arrived! It’s definitely a momentous time to celebrate. Bring on the colorful decorations, gifts, family, and a stupendous cake!

But if you’re hesitant about introducing mountains of sugar-loaded icing and cake batter to your little one, here is a healthier, alternative option: it’s an almond flour cake with blueberry sauce topping.

birthday cake

I’ll admit, it’s not the prettiest thing to look at, but it’s kind of cute in a way, too. And boy, is it delicious! My little one had no hesitations about munching on this nutrient packed birthday treat. It was simple to make and requires very few ingredients. Here is my recipe:

Healthy Smash Cake (Baby’s First Birthday Cake)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 cup oatmeal flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cup water

Other equipment:

  • coffee grinder or food grinder
  • 4″ diameter food storage container

Directions:

Grease and flour a round 9″ cake pan. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Grind up one cup of rolled oats and place in a large mixing bowl. Add one cup of almond flour. (If you don’t have almond flour, you can grind up some sliced almonds in your coffee grinder, too). Mix together. Add the remaining ingredients in the order listed and mix well. The batter will have a medium thickness.

Pour the batter into your prepared baking pan. Place in the middle of your oven and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Let the cake cool for five minutes, then remove it from the pan onto a cutting board. Let it cool completely. Then, place a 4 inch diameter food storage container (or some sort of round object) on top of the cake and use it as a stencil. Cut out two circles from the original 9 inch cake. Stack the two layers on top of each other. Your cake is complete! (You can enjoy the remaining cake yourself).

Baby can enjoy the cake as is. It’s easy to pull apart and it’s delicious.

If you’d like to include the blueberry topping, here is what I did.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1 medium pear
  • sugar to taste (you don’t have to add any)

Equipment:

  • food processor or blender

Directions:

Peel and slice the pear. Place in a small or medium sauce pan. Add one cup of blueberries. Bring to a boil. You may need to add a splash of water so that the fruit doesn’t scorch. Stir well, then remove from heat. Let the mixture cool down a little bit. Next, pour the fruit into your food processor and blend until it reaches a desired consistency. Pour the fruit mixture back into the sauce pan and add sugar to taste. I think I added about two tablespoons of regular cane sugar. Mix well. Pour directly over the cake.

birthday cake

Stick in a candle, and your baby’s first birthday cake is ready! Sit back and watch those little fingers dig in to this fun, tasty, healthy baby smash cake. Happy birthday, baby!