Actress Gwyneth Paltrow discussed her challenges with postpartum depression on the first of a seven part national TV series last week. She said she felt like a zombie and could not connect with her son, Moses. Fortunately for her, her husband was attuned to the subtle differences in her behavior, began noticing more prominent patterns and emotional changes and finally urged her to get some help.
Paltrow went on to explain the shame that she felt, not knowing what was happening to her. We see this with many women and because they don’t know what is going on emotionally, they don’t get the help they need.
Postpartum depression can seriously affect every member of the family and it’s important for women and men to seek support from family, friends and healthcare professionals.
Despite the fact that Paltrow and her husband Chris Martin may seem like the perfect couple, she didn’t feel like the perfect mother after Moses was born in 2005.
“There’s this shame attached to it because if you say, ‘I had a baby and I couldn’t connect to the baby,’ it’s like, ‘What’s wrong with you?’” she revealed. “I think we feel such shame. I just didn’t know what was wrong me. I couldn’t figure it out. Postpartum depression never occurred to me.”
It was Martin, to whom she’s been married for more than eight years, helped his wife diagnose the problem of not being able to connect to her newborn son, or anyone else for that matter. “My husband actually said, ‘Something’s wrong. I think you have postnatal depression,’” she recalls.
And while she admits that the symptoms may have diminished, Paltrow said that it is almost impossible to get rid of postpartum depression.
Paltrow, however, looks at the bright side, attributing the depression to introducing her to a new, important part of her life. “In a way it was hard, but it was great because that depression opened me up to spirituality,” she explained.
It’ also important to realize that most women experience what we call “the baby blues” but symptoms tend to subside sooner. Even though you may feel down, one of the differences is you can be consoled. Whereas, postpartum depression is not short-lived and had a more serious emotional impact.
That’s why it’s wise to get as much practical and emotional support as you can. Do only what you can and let other stuff go. Don’t blame yourself for not being able to do everything you think you should accomplish.
If the support of family and friends doesn’t help and you’re still feeling down, depressed, or in a fog, seek professional help. Also remember to rest and eat properly and make the time to talk to your partner as well. He may be experiencing his own confusion or feeling rejected or anxious. Sharing your feelings and thoughts will help make you feel more connected in the face of all the changes you are experiencing as a couple.
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