Postpartum Depression

Childbirth can trigger several intense emotions, from joy and excitement to dread and anxiety. After childbirth, most new mothers have postpartum “baby blues,” including mood swings, crying spells, reduced concentration, appetite problems, and difficulty sleeping. The baby blues usually start two to three days after delivery and can last for two weeks. However, some new mothers suffer from postpartum depression, a more severe and long-lasting form of depression. 

The point to be noted here is that postpartum depression is not a weakness but like any other ailment it needs medical attention by a specialist doctor. 

Postpartum Depression Not Only Happens To Mom!

Postpartum depression can affect both fathers and mothers. Around one out of every ten fathers has postpartum depression symptoms such as anxiety, overwhelm, and irritation, and the possible causes for this include financial stability and the child’s well-being.

Getting help as soon as possible can help manage the symptoms and bond with the baby. A doctor or psychologist usually diagnoses moms and dads with postpartum depression based on their symptoms.

Furthermore, a first-time mother may feel irritated, furious, self-conscious, and regretful for not being the “perfect” mother to her infant, in addition to the feelings associated with childbirth. After giving birth, many women experience severe wrath, insomnia, self-loathing, and even self harming thoughts. As a result, in particularly severe situations, the child may get harmed and moms could also harm themselves.

What Causes Postpartum Depression?

As per the doctors, postpartum depression happens due to the dramatic drop in hormones (estrogen and progesterone) that occurs after giving birth that changes the chemical balance in the brain. However, hormones are not the  only factor; otherwise, all new mothers would plummet into depression.

Postpartum Depression also, PPD may be associated with sleep deprivation, feelings of loneliness associated with new motherhood, the physical changes of pregnancy, breastfeeding difficulties, and more. Moms also experience other feelings that are associated with PPD which include :

  • Stress due to changes at work and home routine
  • Overwhelmingness with a new baby
  • Tired of labor and delivery
  • Broken sleep
  • Thought of becoming a perfect mom.
  • Lack of free time

These feelings are common among new moms, whereas postpartum depression is a serious health condition that requires medical assistance. 

New Moms And Mental Health

Despite the fact that the problem is widespread and affects the majority of moms, there is a complete lack of interest in a new mother’s mental health after she gives birth to a child. 

In India, the postpartum health issue is often ignored. The goal of pregnancy management is to forewarn, recognise early signs, and determine whether or not therapy is necessary. If postpartum depression symptoms are not recognised early on, they can leave deep scars, as well as long-term interpersonal issues. 

Most moms suffer from PPD when their family fails to comprehend what they are going through. It is also probable that it can be tough for the family to comprehend what a mom is going through. Perhaps, with the support of family members, moms can be stronger and recover faster.

Though a sudden change in hormone levels after pregnancy is the most common cause of PPD, the doctors also believe that cultural, family, financial, and other variables also play a role. The root of the problem is primarily hormonal. However, cultural issues such as overfeeding after childbirth and binding the mother to the house contribute to depression.

Another reason that contributes to self-doubt and depression is the expectation that a woman should be happy about becoming a mother. It’s natural to take time for the mother to develop feelings for her child. The mother bears a great deal of responsibility for this.  Experts recommend that moms can overcome PPD with family support and, if necessary, the participation of counsellors and therapists can also assist a new mother adjust to the changes and her new role in life. 

Risk Factors for Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression can happen to anyone, whether it’s your first child or third. But factors that may raise the risk include: 

  • History of depression or bipolar disorder
  • Severe PMS
  • A perfectionist personality
  • Difficulties during pregnancy
  • Disturbed sleep

What to do?

For treatment of baby blues:

  • Lifestyle changes for a better health.
  • Rest 
  • Talk to other new moms
  • Share the experience with your family.
  • Treatment of Postpartum depression

An experienced doctor can help in managing postpartum depression. Family support and love helps in dealing with depression. The most important thing is to ask for help. Try to open up to the people close to you and let them know you need help. If someone offers to baby-sit, take them up on their offer.

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