BY ANJALI SINGH
Is your baby due or you just brought the most beautiful little being into this world? And despite the sheer joy of childbirth you find yourself muddling through depression? Are you feeling extreme physical, emotional, or behavioral changes?
Its not you and we mean it ! The worse thing you can do at this time is blame yourself or feel guilty. You are not behind those overwhelming feelings of sadness, what is is your hormones!
What Is Postpartum Depression ?
Postpartum Depression (PPD) is a mental health condition or depression that occurs in some women after giving birth. It involves low mood, energy, excessive anxiety, sadness, hopelessness, and changes in appetite, sleep, or behavior. Symptoms of PPD may occur within 3 to a year after the delivery.
Savage right ! Not only did we experience mood swings through the pregnancy here we are yet again battling the blues. But do not take these feelings lightly, you are important and everything you feel is real and raw.
PPD is common but not something you should brush aside. It affects 1 in 7 mothers. While it is treatable, its not something you will grow out off without self care and help. PPD can affect anyone meaning there are no prerequisites. However, this being said women who have suffered from depression in the past are just as more likely to experience this.
It’s Not Baby Blues !
If you attend a mommy camp you probably have been told that what you’re feeling is nothing by baby blues. Most people confuse baby blues with PPD. While these two are often and most easily confused, PPD is far more serious.
So what is baby blues you may ask :
Baby Blues are mood swings that hit you right after birth. Some newbie moms miss these and some experience this on a different level. But this has nothing to do with your surroundings or support system nor is it gratefulness. Unfortunately, most mothers often confuse feeling low with being grateful which is harsh. Most often baby blues only last a week or two but PPD takes longer to shake off and in some cases wont budge till you seek help.
Symptoms of Postpartum Depression
1. Suicidal thoughts
2. Thoughts of hurting someone else
3. Not being able to concentrate
4. Trouble in making decisions
5. Depression getting worse
6. Crying all day for no reason
7. Staying anxious most of the time
A mother may feel guilty and ashamed for not being able to take care of her baby. They may not share their sufferings with their friends or family. But these are not the situations to avoid. Seeking treatment is necessary for both the mother and the child.
How Does Postpartum Depression Affect Newborns
Postpartum Depression can bring difficulty in bonding between mothers and their children. PPD affects the health and quality of life of children as well. It can contribute to eating and sleeping issues for the baby. Long-term PPD in mothers increases the risk of cognitive impairment, emotional and social development, and verbal deficits in babies.
How To Treat Postpartum Depression
Treatment is a must in PPD cases. If you feel you may have postpartum depression, you should seek medical attention right away. Treatments are available that can help you feel like yourself again.
Medications, therapy, supportive environment, diet change, exercise, all these can help you make yourself feel better.
Doctors may suggest antidepressants for women with moderate depression or anxiety. Psychotherapy/ Postpartum counseling has helped many women dealing with PPD. Don’t shy away from getting this treatment. It helps in dealing with negative thoughts. Talking about what you feel gives a clear picture of how you can deal with issues. The impact of counseling can be profound on how you perceive motherhood.
There will be times when mothers may try to hide their feelings from everyone. Especially, women of color feel the pressures of what is expected more than their counterparts. Indian women often shy away from talking about their negative emotions or blues in fear of what Aunty will think. That’s when as a close member, you have to encourage them to speak and seek help. Listen to their troubles and support them.
Spread awareness of Postpartum Depression. If you know anyone dealing with PPD, ask them to consider a doctor before it’s too late. With the correct treatment, every mother can enjoy motherhood.