Posted on Apr 01,2022
What Is Postpartum Depression and How to Deal it with Ease?
Motherhood may look like a perfect picture and to some extent, a wish come true to many women yet like every other change motherhood is not all about hunky-dory. You will feel the existential crisis, happiness, freedom, bounded and so much in one single moment. Maybe that’s why it is said that being a mother will change your life! In the bigger spectrum motherhood is more than a biological process and changes a new mother on emotional and psychological levels. Acceptance of being a mother, on the other hand, comes in many colours, and you will feel both lost and delighted. However, new moms might feel unhappy after giving birth, a condition is known as postpartum depression.
What is postpartum depression?
PPD is a complicated mix of physiological, mental, and behavioural changes that some women experience after having a baby. PPD is a kind of serious depression that occurs within four weeks following birth, according to the DSM-5, a guidebook used to identify mental illnesses. The intensity of the melancholy, as well as the amount of time between birth and beginning, are used to diagnose mental illness.
Basically, "postpartum" refers to the course following childbirth. Within a few days of giving birth, most mothers undergo the "baby blues," or a sense of unhappiness or vacuity. However, these newborn blues usually pass in a few days ( three to five days) for most mothers. You may have postpartum depression if your baby blues don't go away or you feel gloomy, forlorn, or vacant for more than two weeks.
How common is postpartum depression?
Postpartum depression is a very common occurrence. After giving birth, 50 - 70 per cent of new moms experience the "baby blues." After delivery, up to 15% of these women will have more severe and long-term depression, known as postpartum depression. One in every 900 women gets postpartum psychosis, which is a more dangerous disorder.
Why does one experience postpartum depression?
More study is needed to identify the relationship between depression and the quick decline in hormones following birth. The female reproductive hormones oestrogen and progesterone increase tenfold during pregnancy but decline significantly after birth. These hormone levels return to pre-pregnancy levels three days after delivery. In response to these biological changes, having a baby brings about social and psychological changes that raise the likelihood of after motherhood depression.
Symptoms of postpartum depression
● You have the presence of baby blue
It's normal to have an emotional swing throughout your baby's first seven days or two weeks. You might feel much better after that. But if you're still unhappy or even despairing after a few weeks and the sensations are becoming more severe, it's more than just the blues.
● Difficult in bonding
You may retreat from your partner or be unable to form a strong attachment with your child. Altogether, the arrival of a new baby may cause you to feel completely overwhelmed and as if you have lost your mind.
● You lose interest in the things you once used to enjoy
Is your favourite romantic comedy making you chuckle? Do you want to be more loving with your mate? What about your own favourites? Are you having fun with them? Do you eat anything at all? If you answered no, speak with your doctor concerning your mood and behaviour changes.
● You wonder if you can
Who hasn't been concerned about it? It's prevalent among mothers whose children are unwell, preterm or have special needs. If this isn't the case, having frequent misgivings about yourself as a mother might indicate something different.
● You get suicidal thoughts
You can be overwhelmed by emotions of shame or pointlessness, or you might start thinking about death or even wish you weren't living. Suicidal or self-harming thoughts, as well as thoughts of harming yourself or your baby, are advanced indicators of postpartum depression and possibly postpartum psychosis, an uncommon and dangerous mental disease that occurs in conjunction with postpartum depression.
● Abnormal biological behaviour
A new mother may suffer excessive or insufficient sleep, as well as excessive hunger or a lack of desire to eat something. As a result, if you're having the same symptoms and they've been there for a long time, it's likely that you're suffering from ppd.
What causes postpartum depression?
According to the leading health website, Helpguide, the following are the possible reason for postpartum depression.
● Hormonal changes. Women's oestrogen and progesterone hormone levels decline dramatically after delivery. Thyroid levels might decline as well, resulting in weariness and sadness. Postpartum depression can be triggered by these fast hormonal changes, as well as changes in blood pressure, immune system function, and digestion that new moms face.
● Physical changes. Giving childbirth causes a slew of physical and psychological changes. You may feel worried about your physical and sexual attractiveness due to physical discomfort after the delivery or the difficulties of shedding the baby weight.
● Stress. The strain of caring for a baby may be exhausting. Sleep deprivation is common among new moms. Furthermore, you may be concerned about your capacity to adequately care for your newborn and feel bogged down. These transitions can be especially challenging if you're a first-time mother who has to adjust to a whole different identity.
This condition can impact fathers too
Postpartum depression can strike new fathers as well. They may feel sad or tired, overwhelmed, anxious, or have changes in their normal eating and sleeping routines, all of which are indications of postpartum depression in moms.
Fathers who are young, have a history of depression, have marital issues, or are financially strapped are the most vulnerable to postpartum depression. Paternal postpartum depression, often known as postpartum depression in fathers, can have the same detrimental impact on partner interactions and child development as postpartum depression in women.
Speak to your health care provider if you're a new father and are suffering signs of sadness or anxiety throughout your partner's pregnancy or in the first year following your child's birth. Therapies and assistance that are useful to moms with postpartum depression can also be beneficial to males with postpartum depression.
How postpartum depression is treated?
Antidepressants work by affecting the brain directly. They change the molecules in the brain that control mood. But they won't work straight away. It may take many weeks before you notice a shift in your mood after taking the medicine. Antidepressants might cause negative effects in some persons. Fatigue diminished sex drive, and dizziness is all possible symptoms. Tell your doctor straight away if side effects seem to be making your symptoms worse.
While some antidepressants are safe to use while nursing, some aren't. If you breastfeed, make sure to notify your doctor. Your doctor may suggest hormone treatment if your oestrogen levels are low.
CBT (cognitive-behavioural therapy) may aid in the treatment of mild postpartum depression. Its goal is to build more positive ways of thinking and to find new ways to approach and understand circumstances.
Psychological treatment is another possibility. Its purpose is to assist people to improve their communication skills and creating communities. This can assist a person in dealing with difficulties that could otherwise lead to depression.
Counselling can be provided by a psychiatrist, psychologist, or another mental health practitioner. Therapy can assist you in making sense of your damaging ideas and provide skills for dealing with them.
This phase of the procedure may be more challenging than it appears. Cutting yourself some slack is an important part of self-care.
You should not take on more responsibility than you are capable of. Others may not understand what you require, therefore it's critical to inform them. Take some "alone time," but don't shut yourself off completely. Consider attending a new mother's support group. You should avoid alcohol since it is depressive. Rather, allow your body every chance to recuperate. Eat a well-balanced diet and exercise every day, even if it's only a stroll around the block.
Postpartum depression is not a character flaw
The birth of a child can elicit a wide range of strong sentiments, from joy and excitement to dread and concern. However, it can also lead to something unexpected: depression. After childbirth, most new mothers have postpartum "baby blues," which include mood changes, crying episodes, anxiety, and problems sleeping. The baby blues usually start two to three days after delivery and can linger for up to two weeks.
However, some new mothers suffer from postpartum depression, which is a more severe and long-lasting form of sadness. After delivery, an intense mental illness known as postpartum psychosis may occur. Postpartum depression isn't a shortcoming or a fault in anyone's character. Sometimes it's just a side effect of giving birth. If you suffer from postpartum depression, getting help as soon as possible will help you manage your symptoms and bond with your baby.
It is vital to accept postpartum depression as a medical condition, and if your or anyone close to you experiences the same, be there with them. Such conditions demand the support of family and friends. For more such articles keep following WellEQ, a holistic wellbeing app.