When I was six months postpartum with my first child I was depressed, at least I thought I was. I didn’t know what postpartum depression was. In fact, it wasn’t really discussed at all 8 years ago. The “Baby Blues” were casually mentioned…you know that hormonal day of crying most of us go through a few days after babe is born? That was discussed, but postpartum depression? No, never.
I’m so happy to see that’s changing. Slowly. But, it’s changing.
But, the Baby Blues confused me because I was told I would experience it days after my little man was born. And I did, I absolutely did. But, at 6-months postpartum? Why was I suffering so far after birth? All I knew was that I was tired, sad, losing my hair and gaining weight. I got into watching “Intervention” and I was certain my 6-month old baby boy was going to end up on the streets as an addict. I’d already failed as a mother in my eyes and I was completely overwhelmed with the responsibility of raising an addict. Hey, no one ever said postpartum depression makes sense.
I went to my doctor and had a good chat. She decided she should run blood tests and she referred me to a postpartum counsellor. I went and saw the counsellor and although I felt a little better after talking, I was still incredibly fatigued, lethargic and emotional. That’s when I got the call to get back to my doctor as soon as possible.
My TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) was at 52. Normal range for this hormone is 0.4 – 4mIU/L. Soooooo…my thyroid (the gland responsible for metabolism) had shut down and I was diagnosed as severely hypothyroid.
Hello, weight gain! Hi there, fatigue! Well hey there, emotions!
What does being hypothyroid mean? With my high TSH levels, for me, it meant that my thyroid was not functioning, not even in the smallest way. For some reason during my pregnancy, my thyroid was attacked by my own body. You’re a real jerk, body. Some days you’re a real jerk.
For me, knowing that the way I was feeling was a medical condition was a relief. Synthroid is now my best friend and I will be on it for the rest of my life. Apparently, and this was only diagnosed after my first pregnancy, we discovered I have Hashimoto’s Disease. This is an autoimmune disease where your body attacks the thyroid.
What’s the point of this post? It’s to let all you postpartum Mamas know that if you’re feeling sad, blue, fatigued, etc., if you’re gaining weight, the first step you need to take is to get to your doctor for bloodwork to check your thyroid. And hey…also get that referral for counselling because Motherhood is HARD and it’s always a good idea to have someone to talk to.
The crazy part? This is an issue that 7% of women have. Now, I realize 7% doesn’t sound like a lot, but that’s 1 out of every 14 women who suffer from this. It’s called postpartum thyroiditis. It even has a cool name. 1 out of every 14 of your Mama friends is going to suffer from this and have no idea. Until now. Go us!
Signs & Symptoms of Postpartum Hypothyroiditis:
- Weight gain
- Feeling cold
- Dry skin
- Hair loss (ugh)
Hypothyroidism Risk Factors:
- Family history of autoimmune disease
- Type 1 diabetes
- Radiation treatment
- Past thyroid surgery
- Presence of thyroid antibodies (often caused by Hashimoto’s disease…that’s what I have)
- Current treatment for an already non-functioning thyroid
The best part (lol, as if there’s the best part!) about postpartum thyroiditis is that most Mamas get through it within their first postpartum year. It usually corrects itself within those first 12 months. UNLESS you have an underlying disease like Hashimoto’s. Then, Mama, it’s me and you swallowing Synthroid for the rest of our lives. It’s a cheap medication, so don’t let it stress you out.
Listen up! If you’re feeling at all blue, at all sad…it’s time to reach out. Get your thyroid checked. If that comes back normal, great! There are a lot of other postpartum support groups you can join. You’ll be okay as long as you reach out and ask for some help. Motherhood is hard. Reaching out for help isn’t a weakness, it’s strength, Mama. It takes a village.
Also, because I’m a fitness gal, I truly believe in the power of exercise to help combat postpartum depression, well any depression really is ridiculously strong. There have been numerous studies about weight training and the positive effects it has on helping Mamas get through postpartum depression. I tell ya, postpartum fitness programs are the bomb.
This issue is incredibly near and dear to my heart and I want to help as much as possible. We started a Postpartum Initiative at Hot Mama that allows women between 8-16 weeks postpartum to come and participate at class for FREE for 4 weeks. No hook. No gimmick. We just want to see you get out of your house, meet like-minded women and get the support you need. Oh…and also participate in safe and effective postpartum fitness classes!
All of this to say: if you’re feeling blue…go talk to your doctor. He or she should send you for bloodwork to check your thyroid and you should ask for a referral to talk with someone. Trust me…the talking part is critical.
Breathe, Mama. You got this. Also…get your thyroid check…stat!