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Signs of Postpartum Depression and What You Can Do

Giving birth is a powerful experience, bringing with it a rollercoaster of emotions that range from intense excitement to fear, joy to anxiety. Some new mothers, however, may experience some other, more unexpected emotions—depression and sadness.  While the “baby blues” are not uncommon, and include feelings of sadness, mood swings, and crying spells, when these symptoms are intense or last more than two weeks, they may be signs of postpartum depression or anxiety. If you think you may be experiencing postpartum depression or anxiety, it’s important to know that you’re not alone and that there are things that you can do to help get your life back to “normal.”
What Are the Signs of PPD?
With the fluctuation of hormones that comes with giving birth to your new baby, it’s common to experience mood changes or have difficulty sleeping or concentrating. These symptoms, which may only last a day or two, are referred to as the “baby blues,” and balance out not long after giving birth. For some women, though, those symptoms intensify and last longer, eventually interfering with their ability to take care of their baby or get through everyday activities. It can be difficult to distinguish what might be simple hormone changes versus what could be part of a larger issue, but if you know the symptoms of postpartum depression, you’ve already taken the first step.

Knowing what signs to look for can help you determine when to seek treatment for postpartum depression. Combined with feelings of sadness, postpartum depression can be characterized by symptoms including:

Severe mood swings
Loss of appetite
Overwhelming tiredness and fatigue
Intense irritability or anger
Insomnia
Feelings of guilt, shame, or inadequacy
Loss of interest in sex
Withdrawal from family and friends
Difficulty bonding with your baby
Thoughts of harming […]

The 33rd Chapter – Coping with IVF, Complicated Genetic Testing & Pregnancy Loss

A regular at the Blossom Method with his Wife Mandy, Creative Director and new Author Justin Winget shares the final entry, “Lessons Learned,” of his forthcoming book, The Thirty Third Chapter. Documenting the couple’s journey back from harrowing 20 and 38 week pregnancy losses, the narrative began on July 12th 2013:  Justin’s 33rd birthday and exactly one year after they celebrated a positive pregnancy test for their later stillborn son Carter. Setting a pre-defined ending date just before the clock turned to his 34th birthday, Justin picked-up writing just as the couple stood on the verge of another go at their dreams of parenthood. With hopes of pregnancy after loss via IVF layered with complicated genetic testing for the same rare genetic condition which plagued their first pregnancy: PGS and PGD

Written as a form of self-therapy for coping with pregnancy losses, Justin shares the culmination of his efforts surrounding IVF and genetic testing in “Lessons Learned” – the first complete entry revealed to readers. Follow along on Facebook and the Blossom Method Blog for more excerpts, and keep on the lookout for the book release sometime in 2015!

The Final Entry:

As I laid restlessly in bed watching the clock on my nightstand slowly tick towards midnight, I rewound back through all the bittersweet memories that culminated in the 33rd chapter of my life. It was not a particularly great year with more valleys than peaks, but I acknowledge it was one I needed to endure. While it tested every last ounce of my resolve, it was the only path that led to that next unrelenting chapter as a Father…

When I started writing 365 days ago, I thought this would be a completely different story. Sitting on the […]

The Blossom Method: Celebrating Hope & the Women of You Never Know

More than 15 amazing writers from around Chicagoland came together this week to share their stories of hope, sorrow and courage as part of The Blossom Method’s You Never Know campaign. Links to their inspiring journeys are below.

If you are experiencing reproductive challenges (infertility, pregnancy loss, genetic complications, complex medical diagnoses, preemies or postpartum depression) on your road to starting or growing your family, you are not alone. Reach out to us at 312.854.0061 or via email at info@blossommethod.com.

Blossom Method: Support For the Newborn Mom, Amina Bennett, Momma Mina

Unexpected Tragedies on My Reproductive Journey: You Never Know, Aviva Cohen, The Blossom Method

You Never Know, Sara Connell, Bringing in Finn

Losing a Twin During Pregnancy: You Never Know, Maura Deptula, Families in the Loop

You Never Know: Grieving the Loss of a Baby, Carrie Goldman, Portrait of an Adoption

When the Bottom Falls Out of Your Birth Plan, TJ Falletti, Chitown Mommy Mayhem

How to Support Friends Through Infertility, Lisa Hanneman, Hannemaniacs

When Your VBAC Goes Wrong, Jasmine Jaffarali, Healthy Jasmine

(Not) Alone in the Crowd, Erin Kuhn-Krueger, Will Carry On

You Never Know: Fertility Challenges and The Blossom Method, Katie O’Conner, Shine Chicago

You Never Know {The Blossom Method}, Samantha Shultz, The Peanuts Gang

You Never Know, Linda Szmulewitz, Chicago New Moms Group

The Blossom Method’s You Never Know Campaign, Dara Tarkowsky, Sharp Mamas

My Infertility Story: It Could Happen to You, Wendy Widom, Cheeky Chicago

You Never Know, Kim Wilschek, Chicago Pregnancy

You Never Know: Our Struggle With Infertility, Sara Youngblood-Ochoa, macaroni kid Chicago

Unexpected Tragedies On My Reproductive Journey: You Never Know

~By Aviva Cohen, LCSW & Co-Founder of The Blossom Method

When I tell people I work with women and couples struggling with infertility, loss, postpartum depression and other tragic scenarios during their reproductive journeys, I almost always get the same questions: How can you do something like that every day? Isn’t it depressing? My response never wavers. Providing support to women and couples is my professional calling and I am inspired by my clients each and every day.

Perhaps part of the reason I’m drawn to this work is because I straddle both worlds. I had my first three children with ease. I wanted to get pregnant, and poof, it happened. My pregnancies were relatively normal and the deliveries easy. Then I rolled the dice again and discovered just how lucky I’d been.

During my eighteenth week of pregnancy, I found out the baby inside of me had died. In an instant, my hopes and dreams for that unborn baby were dashed. I felt blindsided, confused, shocked and terrified. My doctor sent me to specialists, and then washed his hands of me. I was no longer a patient he wanted to treat. During this vulnerable time, I became lost in a maze of hospitals, doctors and nurses. I felt afraid and very much alone.

In my mind, I decided that if I got pregnant again before my due date, the pain deep inside of me would disappear. I quickly conceived again, but this time, at my nine-week checkup, the baby had no heartbeat. That was it for me. I had nowhere to go, no one to talk to, and no one who understood how I felt. When I tried to talk about the loss with friends or family, they told […]

There Must Be Something Wrong With Me

It’s the right time in your life to get pregnant.  You have found the partner of your dreams, your job is secure, you are in the best shape of your life, and  frankly, you have run out of excuses! It is now or never. Then it happens-maybe quicker or slower than you had expected. That nice pink line or positive sign-depending on which test you bought-and how many times you took it to confirm your suspicions. You guys did it! You are a smashing success-now you are pregnant!
You are so excited you don’t know how you will keep this secret until you are out of the first trimester, but you do! You tell your sister, best friend, and Mom, but even you have your limits! OK-you tell your friend at work too because she can tell immediately that you are not yourself. You go to the doctor and all signs are great. Pregnancy looks good-you are on your way! The coast is clear and you start screaming it from the rooftops! The secret is out-you are going to have a baby!

Then-the world as you know it changes forever…your water breaks at 19 weeks, tests show your baby is incompatible with life, one doctor visit there is no heartbeat-whatever the circumstances of your loss-you are experiencing one and there is nothing you can do to change it. You wish you could rewind the clock-noticed a problem-called the doctor and told him/her about it. How could this be happening? It never happened to any of my friends. Why me? It is just not fair.

The truth is-shame on your friends and everyone you know. Loss is as much a part and possibility of pregnancy as lice is […]