Postpartum Depression – if any symptoms are seen to be developing in the women after giving birth to a child, they should not be ignored. Facts say that about 80% of the women face “baby blues”, 15% of women suffer from PPD, & 8% of men suffer from PPD.
Pregnancy is a beautiful journey for a woman. However, people commonly believe that childbirth is a magical period for all women and that as soon as they deliver the baby, maternal feelings and instincts will magically appear. Do you know that a woman’s body & mind both go through many changes during and after pregnancy? For this reason, many women feel anxious, sad and sometimes they even feel that they are unable to take care of the baby and are not capable of taking care of them.
What is Postpartum?
The literal meaning of the word ‘Postpartum” / “Postnatal” is the time after childbirth. Within a few days after childbirth, many women feel empty, sad, or overwhelmed, which is called the “Baby Blues”. Usually, the baby blues last for 3 to 5 days after childbirth. But, if you feel mental distress, uncomfortable, hopeless for more than 14 days, then this can be a warning sign of developing Postpartum Depression (PPD).
Sometimes new mothers get advice from the elders, that after childbirth these types of feelings are normal, it will be better with time and you have to go through it as you are a mother, all mothers go through this, so & so. These feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and emptiness, after childbirth, are not at all a regular or expected part for a mother of a newborn.
Often women are misjudged! Many think they are going through a depressed mood that will be ok with time. But most people don’t know the postpartum depression is a serious mental health issue that involves and affects your physical health and your behavior as well. It can seriously interfere with your day-to-day life. In this state, you start to feel that you might not be able to love or care for the baby. These feelings can range from mild to severe. The self-confidence drops down severely.
How to identify postpartum depression (PPD)?
Here are few points, you should know about the signs of PPD. If these symptoms of depression last more than two weeks, get in touch with your Doctor.
- Feeling empty and sad.
- Feeling hopeless, restless, overwhelmed, and moody.
- Not feeling connected to the baby.
- Having thoughts of self-harm.
- Having thoughts of harming the baby.
- Having no interest in the newborn baby.
- Crying a lot without a proper reason.
- Having no motivation or energy.
- Feeling worthless as a mother or like a bad mother.
- Sleeping/eating too much or too little.
- Stopped interaction with friends and family.
- Having headaches, pains, or stomach problems.
- Having difficulty focusing.
Higher risky causes associated with Postpartum Depression
Post-Partum Depression is such a condition, that it can happen to any woman after she gives birth to a child. The actual reason for having PPD syndrome is though unclear, still, there are many such factors likely to be a combination of mental & physical factors. However, you are at higher risk because of these below causes:
- Had an unwanted or unplanned pregnancy.
- Have a baby with special needs.
- Were depressed throughout pregnancy.
- Having a family or personal history of bipolar disorder or Depression.
- Have alcoholism or drug abuse history.
- Have a relationship problem with family and friends or financial problem.
- Having a problem with breastfeeding.
- Had problems during a previous pregnancy.
- Age during the time of pregnancy: The younger you are the chances of PPD is higher.
- Having twins or triplets.
- Marital conflicts.
- Sleeping problem – not getting adequate time to sleep.
New mothers can feel guilty, embarrassed, or ashamed about feeling depressed. Whereas, she is supposed to be happy for the baby. They often hide their symptoms as they don’t want to be seen as a bad mother. If you or any woman you know, who is fighting depression after childbirth, no need to worry? There are several ways, to overcome the PPD syndrome.
Ways to Overcome PPD
- Consultation and therapy. You can talk to your doctor, counselor about how you are feeling or doing and this disorder can be treated once it is properly identified. You should not feel embarrassed or ashamed for this; you should properly follow up the treatment which your doctor will advise.
- Medicine treatment – Postpartum depression can be treated by medicine, but make sure to take the medicines that are prescribed by your doctor. The most common type of medicine is antidepressants, few of them can be taken during breastfeeding, but make sure your doctor prescribes them. Your depression will not magically disappear once you start taking the medicine, it may take a few weeks to start working properly.
- Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). – This type of treatment is used in extreme cases – when the patient is completely detached from reality or has the desire to harm herself or the baby.
- Asking for Help – Taking care of a newborn baby is very difficult to work for a new mother. Most of the new mothers don’t get enough sleep; they even find it difficult to take basic care of themselves like eating properly or bathing as the baby needs constant monitoring and attention. You can always ask your friends or family members to help you with caring for the baby for some time so that you can take care of yourself. You should remember, if you are not doing well – you will not be able to take care of your little bundle of joy.
Few More Points to Remember
- Follow a good diet & try to avoid caffeine and alcohol.
- Spend time with your partner.
- Don’t isolate yourself. Spend time with family and friends
- Try to do yoga or exercise.
- Take rest or sleep when your baby is sleeping.
- You should expect few good days and few bad days so prepare yourself.
- Don’t compare yourself with other moms; every baby is different so their needs will be different.
- Cut back on chores and errands if you are not up to it.
Being a mother of a child is a blessing. It’s the best gift for women to have. The journey to be a mother starting from the day she conceives is not at all an easy one. So, you, being a mother should also take care of yourself. It is very important to take care of yourself, along with taking care of the newborn baby. And, if you feel un-usual about yourself, there are many ways to overcome the problem. Don’t worry! Enjoy motherhood.