Often treated as a myth in the modern world, postpartum depression is neither taken seriously nor believed by the majority of people. Childbirth is considered a privilege by the masses and any woman who brings a child into this world is considered sacred. Being a mother is a blessing and those who experience it, feel it like a Touch of God. However, there is a dark side to childbirth which more or less remains behind closed doors. From hesitating to speak about it to not believing it – Postpartum Depression in Mothers is most definitely a Reality!
What is Postpartum Depression – Is it a Reality?
Postpartum means the period after childbirth. Depression is a proven medical illness. Together they lead to a medical condition called Postpartum Depression. The birth of a child can stimulate a range of strong emotions ranging from excitement to a feeling of dread. After childbirth, some new mothers are said to be diagnosed with postpartum depression. It includes mood changes, crying spells, anxiety, and problems in sleeping.
Baby Blues or Postpartum Depression –
Baby blues usually fade away between 3 to 5 days of onset. Postpartum depression symptoms last longer and are more severe. Postpartum depression generally starts within the first month after delivery.
You might feel disconnected from your child. One may feel as if you are not its mother. It may lead to a feeling that you do not love or care for the child. These emotions might range from mild to strong.
Symptoms of Postpartum Depression –
Postpartum depression affects everyone differently. The following are some frequent indications and symptoms –
- Depressed or sad
- Restlessness and dejected
- Sleepiness and lack of rest
- Feeling guilty, small, hopeless or useless
- Stomach pain or Headaches
- Low Libido or Sexual Desire
- Lack of Clarity in thinking
- Lack of Enthusiasm
- Bonding difficulties with the child
- Crying on a regular basis
- Avoiding contact with friends
- Having no interest in the child
Causes of Postpartum Depression –
Hormonal Changes –
Although the causes of postpartum depression are relatively unknown, hormonal changes are thought to have a role. Your level of the feminine hormones – estrogen and progesterone are at their greatest during pregnancy. Hormone levels quickly return to pre-pregnancy levels in the first 24 hours following delivery.
The sudden decline in estrogen and progesterone after giving birth might be a factor of postpartum depression in women. Other hormones generated by the thyroid gland may also drop suddenly leaving you weary, sluggish and sad.
When you’re sleep-deprived and overwhelmed you may struggle to deal with even simple situations. The part of caring or feeding your baby may seem daunting and you may try to avoid it. Without proper rest, even the simplest of tasks become very taxing.
You may be concerned about your ability to care for a newborn. You may be over powered by a feeling of worry for your child so much so that you may feel that you are unconsciously harming them.
Self – Doubt:
You may feel worthless or believe you’ve lost control of your life. You may feel that you are not good enough to care for your child and others may be able to do it better. There are several causes which lead to postpartum depression in mothers which is a start reality.
Other Causes of Postpartum Depression may include –
- sleeping difficulties
- feeling overburdened
- feeling unpleasant
- having a special needs baby
- having an unintended pregnancy
- being under the age of 20
- previous trauma
- alterations in hormone levels
- a prior diagnosis of depression
- family history of depression
- bipolar illness
- the physical and mental strains of childbirth and parenting
- more strain at work or home
- lacking support from family and friends
- Difficult delivery
TYPES OF POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION IN NEW MOTHERS:
Three terms are being used to characterize the mood changes that women might experience after pregnancy:
Baby Blues happen to up to 70% of women in the days following childbirth. You may have unexpected mood swings, such as feeling very pleased and then quite depressed. You may cry for no apparent cause and experience feelings of impatience. Restlessness, anxiety, loneliness, and sadness are the other symptoms. The baby blues can continue for a few hours or up to two weeks after birth.
MILD POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION:
Postpartum depression can occur weeks, or months after giving birth. Postpartum depression can occur with the birth of any child, not just the first. You can feel sentiments comparable to the baby blues, such as sadness, disappointment, worry, and low mood, but much more severely.
PPD usually prevent you from performing the things you need to do daily.
Postpartum psychosis is a rare disorder. It often shows within the first week after delivery. It is laden with severe signs and symptoms. Postpartum psychosis can cause life-threatening ideas and must be treated right away. It is a severe mental disease that can occur in new moms. This sickness can occur during the first three months following delivery.
Among the signs and symptoms are:
- Puzzlement and dizziness
- Getting obsessive thoughts about your
- Delusions and hallucinations
- Interruption in sleep
- Excessive excitement and energy
- Attempts to injure yourself or your child
- Anger and rage
- Strange feelings and actions are among the other symptoms.
Women suffering from postpartum psychosis require immediate care and nearly invariably require medication.
Paternal postpartum depression refers to postpartum depression in dads. Postpartum depression can affect new fathers as well.
Fathers who are:
- Have a history of depression
- Have interpersonal issues
- Financially unstable
These types of fathers are the most likely to have postpartum depression.
They may encounter the symptoms:
- Sad or exhausted
- Feeling stressed
- Feelings of anxiety
- changes in their usual eating and sleeping habits
If you’re a new father who is suffering signs of sadness or anxiety, it is recommended to go and talk to a doctor. Treatments and supports are similar to those offered to moms. It may be effective in treating postpartum depression in dads.
REMEDIES OF POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION:
Treatment for postpartum depression is critical for the parents. The sooner a person receives it, the more likely they are to recover. In most situations, treatment is effective.
Doctors generally recommend a mix of psychotherapy and medicine –
- Suggestions for helping with recovery include:
- Identifying the issue
- Being upfront about any emotions
- Taking part in a support group
- Seeking the assistance of friends and relatives
There are several medications available to treat postpartum depression. They must all be recommended by your doctor or nurse. Antidepressants can help ease depressive symptoms. It may take many weeks for antidepressants to work effectively. So its better to accept that postpartum depression in new mothers is a harsh reality which needs to be treated.
Getting therapy is critical for both the mother and the child. Taking antidepressant medication or seeking treatment does not make you failure. Getting timely help is a display of strength!