A mother having fear and anxiety after giving birth seems strange, isn’t it? All of us think motherhood only brings many happy emotions. But that is not always the case. Postpartum Depression is something that a mother can experience after giving birth. This typically involves the fear of having a new human in her life. She is scared that what If she isn’t a good mother for her baby, who needs her the most?
If you are a new mother, and are worried about the anxiety you are currently feeling, I assure you It’s completely normal, and you don’t need to think of yourself as a bad mother. Let’s dig deeper into why Postpartum Depression happens, its signs and symptoms, and how you can overcome it.
What are the ‘Baby Blues’?
You must have heard of the term ‘Baby Blues’. Many of us may think that it’s about a blue baby who is deprived of oxygen and has turned blue. That’s funny, but ‘baby blues’ are actually the feelings of sadness that a mother experiences right after delivery. This sadness can go on for almost 2 weeks. The symptoms of ‘baby blues’ include:
- Mood swings
- Crying spells
- Disturbed sleep
- Sad feelings and anger
- Difficulty in concentration
It’s nothing to worry about. Many new parents feel this way. This is mostly due to the increased responsibility of taking care of a new baby. You don’t even need to get treatment for this. ‘Baby Blues’ usually go away on its own.
Postpartum depression is something different, and more severe.
What is Postpartum Depression?
Postpartum Depression is a severe form of depression. It is long-lasting. It is different from ‘baby blues’ as it doesn’t only happen after giving birth. Sometimes, it can occur during pregnancy.
It is a complex mix of physical, emotional and behavioral changes that occur in women after giving birth. Not all women get postpartum, but some do.
Postpartum Depression happens after birth. So it is called ‘Postpartum Blues’ as well. Another type of Postpartum Depression is depression after miscarriage.
What is the ‘Root’ of Postpartum?
Postpartum Depression is related with biological and psychological reasons:
Chemical changes in the mother’s body that happen during the pregnancy involve the surging and lowering of the hormones. The female reproductive hormones, ‘Progesterone and Estrogen’ may increase tenfold during pregnancy. These same hormones drop sharply at the time of birth. Within 3 days, these hormones go back to their pre-pregnancy level.
If you are here, and you have been pregnant, you must be relating yourself with these changes that happen during pregnancy, and cause your mood swings.
Social and Psychological Pressure
Besides hormone imbalancing, the social pressure of having a baby is too much. The grandmothers and the elders of the family scrutinize the new mother. You must be familiar with the sayings like ‘Is ko tou bachay ko sambhalna nahe aata, Ye kyaa achi tarbiyyat karay gi’.
This is too much pressure. The mother thinks that she isn’t good at her job, and she can’t take good care of her baby. This psychological burden often leads to depression.
How Do You Know If You Have Postpartum Blues?
Postpartum Depression can be mistaken for ‘baby blues’ at first, but you should keep in mind that the symptoms are much more severe, and they last longer than the two weeks period of baby blues. Sometimes the symptoms persist for longer than a year.
Here’s a list of Postpartum Depression (PPD) symptoms. If you can relate to some of them, you must be going through PPD.
If you are crying all day, for no apparent reason, you can relate to one of the main Postpartum Depression symptoms. Even if you try to make yourself stop from crying, you often fail. This can be a very frustrating situation for your husband and the in-laws as well, who must be enjoying having the little baby.
Unable to Bond with the Baby
This is the toughest thing to go through. How can you imagine being unable to bond with your baby while you have carried him/her for nine months? That seems bizarre, right? But it does happen in Postpartum Depression.
You may find yourself unable to bond with your baby. This leads to blaming yourself for being a bad mother. You label yourself as someone who isn’t qualified for raising a baby. These thoughts overwhelm and add to feeling more depression.
The portion of depressed feelings is too much during Postpartum Depression. You may feel hopeless, helpless and worthless. Your self-image gets tarnished. You think as if you have lost your beauty and attraction. You lose interest and pleasure in all activities.
Having Postpartum Depression is clearly terrifying.
It feels strange that a mother who just gave birth, thinks of suicide.
But it’s a reality. Thinking about suicide and suicidal ideation is a very common, yet extreme Postpartum Depression symptoms. You may even think about hurting yourself or your baby.
Difficulty in Decision Making
You may experience difficulty in concentration on everyday life tasks and decision making. You find yourself unable to choose between things. All of this adds to you feeling more depressed.
It is clear that these symptoms are much more severe than ‘baby blues’ and resemble depression.
What Makes You ‘High Risk’ for Postpartum?
If you have a prior history of depression, chances are you will most probably be diagnosed with Postpartum Depression, after you give birth. Postpartum Depression does not happen in all women, but only those who pose certain risk factors e.g having given birth to twins, triplets before, financial problems, unplanned or unwanted pregnancy, family history of Depression and Bipolar Disorder, a weak support system etc.
If you are an expecting mother, and you relate to any of these risk factors, you must work on managing your mental health beforehand.
When Should You Seek a Psychologist’s Help?
Postpartum Depression is dangerous for new mothers. It hinders their ability to enjoy the most amazing time of bonding with their new-born. It is bad for the mother’s mental health, as well as the general well-being of the other family members.
If you feel an extreme change in your overall mental health after giving birth, you should contact a mental health professional to help you with postpartum blues.
Ways to Get Treatment for Postpartum Depression
Postpartum Depression is a psychological illness, and it usually is treated with medication along with Psychotherapy.
Your doctor can suggest certain medications, like antidepressants, anti-anxiety pills. These medications target the symptoms of depression. They are helpful in curbing the extreme Postpartum Depression symptoms.
If you are breastfeeding your baby, discuss with your doctor the doses of medication that are not harmful for the baby.
Therapy can help overcome the emotional feelings and overwhelmness that is associated with Postpartum Depression. You can learn how to cope with the extreme feelings of hopelessness and anxious thoughts. A psychologist can help you in dealing with postpartum blues in a positive way.
Adding your husband or the family to the therapy sessions also prove fruitful, as the family gets on the same page, and outcomes of therapy are enhanced.
Lifestyle Choices You Can Try
There can be many lifestyle choices you can try to stay positive, while going through Postpartum Depression.
- Start physical activity. Do light exercises, and morning walk with your baby. Eat healthy foods.
- Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Get the work done, which you can actually do without feeling too drained.
- Spend time with your husband. Make him take care of the baby as well.
- Schedule a time alone, or with your friends. Go out. Enjoy a hobby you have always loved doing.
- Talk about your feelings. Don’t be shy, or have a fear of what your family will think about you.
- Ask for help, if you need it.
Remember! Taking care of your baby includes taking care of your own self, as well.
Motherhood is a wonderful time, and it should be enjoyed to its fullest. Having Postpartum Depression comes in the way of making amazing memories with your baby, and taking pleasure from every moment of it. If you are experiencing any such symptoms, make sure to consult a psychologist, without wasting any time. You can find the best Psychologist in Lahore via Healthwire.pk.