Postpartum depression is a clinical condition that occurs after childbirth and can affect both men and women. Statistics say, between .05% to 61% of women will experience depression or postpartum anxiety after delivery. For men, particularly new fathers, it’s between 1% and 25%. Postpartum depression is said to be the leading causes of the murder of infants, which reportedly occurs about 8 times out of 100,000 births.
While the condition is quite normal, many women lose their sense of self, as it sparks physical and emotional changes, which can affect one’s mental state and their relationships with others. Symptoms include anxiety, reduced desire for sex, sleep deprivation and more. Many recover with medical treatment, however, most get through the changes with the support of their significant other, their family and/or a support group.
In a recent blog post for PEOPLE magazine, Love and Hip Hop Atlanta’s Rasheeda Frost discussed her experience with postpartum, in an effort to speak out and spread awareness for those who are unable to speak out for themselves. She explored the changes in her relationship with husband, Kirk Frost, and explained her thought process through the experience, which began with a case of pneumonia.
“I’ve always been a very strong, hardworking and passionate woman. When I gave birth to my perfect angel, Karter, he looked so precious and I loved him immediately,” she wrote. “However, things took a turn for the worst when I began to shake uncontrollably after giving, and it turned out that I was suffering from pneumonia.”
Rasheeda was unable to breastfeed due to the medication the doctor prescribed for her pneumonia. This caused the reality star to have trouble building the special bond with Karter that she had with her now-16-year-old son, Ky. Rasheeda’s sickness and subsequent hospital stay altered her perception of herself. She no longer felt like the happy, strong woman she once was.
“My mind was cloudy. I was tired. I felt down and lost, and would cry all the time. It came to the point that I would retreat away from my family and avoid my friends,” Rasheeda wrote. “I didn’t look or feel my best. I was over 200 pounds, and there were days I would tell Kirk, ‘Listen you need to take care of Karter,’ and I would just lie around. I was in such a weird space, and he didn’t understand what was going on with me.”
As Rasheeda’s perception of herself skewed, she began to grow distant from her husband, without being able to explain her mindset. She knew something was wrong, but she didn’t want to believe it. As a result, he was left “confused and feeling alone.”
“In 20 years, he had never witnessed me in distress, and I have never been in such turmoil,” she wrote. “I knew that I needed to heal because I thought I was an unfit mother and I didn’t realize that sleep deprivation, hormonal changes and stress after giving birth had a drastic impact on my brain chemistry.”
However, as time went passed, she knew she had to do something. After feeling worthless, dealing with sleep deprivation, constant headaches and anxiety, Rasheeda worked up the courage to speak with a doctor. Upon arrival, she was finally able to put a name to her symptoms, and that is when she began to feel relieved.
“For me, the discovery was RELIEF to finally be able to put a name to what was happening with me – something that had been affecting every area of my life. It was time to figure out my next course of action.”
Rasheeda looked into several different kinds of treatment for her postpartum, and while anti-depressants may work for some, she decided to try natural remedies. In addition to the treatments, she learned more about the condition and how it has affected her, to find a balance and stabilize her moods.
“I found myself in constant prayer and even established a habit of meditation. Developing a routine was extremely helpful for me to create balance. Being outside was essential,” she wrote, adding that diets and workouts helped on her road to recovery. Rasheeda revealed her mother and her husband helped her work through the process, allowing her to get extra rest, balance her life, and return to the woman she once was.
“I want to speak out for those who cannot speak up for themselves and give them hope so they are comforted in knowing they are not alone and can take their life back. I want to shatter the stigma associated with postpartum depression, helping to raise awareness and educate women about what is really going on with them and shedding light on the signs and symptoms of postpartum depression and treatment options. You can find success during tough times, and I am sharing my experience with postpartum depression because it’s a global problem for many women. And it does not discriminate.”