It’s hard to lock down the exact percentage of moms that have postpartum depression, because there’s a lot of moms out there that don’t know it and don’t seek the help or are unable to get the help that they need. But it is estimated around 10 to 20% of moms will experience some kind of perinatal depressive episode; and perinatal is again, during pregnancy as well as postpartum. And I have much more experience with anxiety. I was never diagnosed with depression. I think that through my anxiety, I did have some depression in there. But I have been doing lots and lots of research into this because I find it so interesting on what is actually happening in your brain, when you have anxiety and depression. And Mama’s Daily Dose is… your Mom brain on postpartum depression. Let’s get moving before we get interrupted.
Disclaimer, I am not a doctor, nor am I a mental health professional. However, I have done a ton of research on this because when I got anxiety with my second son, I’m like, what is happening? Like why does it happen to some women? Why does it happen when they have some babies and not when they have others. And so I just did a deep dive into the brain science behind a lot of this in the brain science in moms… and I find it absolutely fascinating.
What’s interesting is in postpartum depression, what they found is the mom’s amygdala basically, shuts off. And your amygdala is your emotional processing center. So it processes all of your emotions, compassion, love, fear, sadness, and it prioritizes fear. So what happens is basically, mom’s amygdalas are a lot more lit up than those that are not mothers. So your amygdala is working so hard. There’s all these fears, there’s all this stuff going on, you got to keep this baby safe, we have to do all of these other things. And it just, there’s so much going on that it just it shuts down. And they found in postpartum depression, a lot of moms’ amygdalas are not lit up anymore, like those without postpartum depression, show that they are lit up more than non-mothers. So what’s happening here, it’s kind of like, when your kid turns on the light in your car, and you don’t know about it. You close the car, you go inside, you make dinner, you get on with your life, go to sleep, wake up, go to start the car in the morning, you’re turning it over. Nothing’s happening. You’re like, what the heck. And you look back and in the backseat, that light is on. The light was kept on so long that the battery ran out. And that’s what happens with mom’s amygdalas in postpartum depression, is that it is on for so long and it is on so high that it needs a break and it just shuts down.
Mama, your action today is to realize, like the amygdala, if we’re working too hard, we all need a break sometimes. Otherwise, we’re going to fully shut down. So today I want you to take one minute on something that you can do to give yourself a break, something that you will enjoy so we don’t hit that shutdown phase. So take a nice one minute break today and have a great day free of mama guilt because you deserve it.
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Meghan Q Barrett is Mom Success Coach and Connector who helps mamas create a life they love as “mom” AND an individual without the mom guilt. She connects mamas from all around the world so you can share your stories in a safe, supportive space.
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