Are you in self-doubting mode? Are you feeling unhappy? Are you crying all the time? Are you unconcerned about your baby? You are not alone experiencing baby blues; approximately 60 to 80% of new mothers undergo this. The baby blues usually starts after a few days of delivery and goes off within a week or two. However, if these feelings appear to be unusually intense and have exceeded more than two weeks it’s an alarm that you are experiencing postpartum depression.
The difference between normal stress and exhaustion due to new motherhood and clinical depression is sometimes very hard to identify; however if your feelings of sadness are so intense that they are avoiding you to do your daily tasks such as caring for yourself and others, you could have postpartum depression. Postpartum depression is a widespread issue faced by women throughout the globe. 1 in every 10 women goes through this; however this number can be even higher since many women don’t open up or seek treatment. They live in a fear that it will be seen as a defect in them by their family and society; however it requires immediate attention. If left untreated, postpartum depression can remain for months and years and can turn into chronic depressive disorder.
Symptoms of Postpartum Depression:
Symptoms of postpartum depression differ from woman to woman and it can range from mild to severe which are as follows:
- Avoiding friends and family
- Being angry
- Crying all the time
- Difficulty in concentrating
- Extreme emptiness or sadness
- Feeling exhausted
- Lack of rest and sleep
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of interest
- Not caring for self and baby
Who are at higher risk of experiencing postpartum depression?
- Baby with birth defects or any other medical problems
- Breastfeeding problems
- Depression during pregnancy
- Domestic violence
- Family history of psychiatric problems
- Lack of social support
- Medical history of depression
- Single mothers
- Stressful life events during pregnancy or after delivery of baby
- Unplanned pregnancy
Treatment for postpartum depression includes psychotherapy or talk therapy and medication.
Psychotherapy also called as talk therapy is a mental health counseling in which a psychiatrist or mental health provider talks through your issues, which can be one to one or in a group setting with other women going through similar phase.
Doctor can prescribe antidepressants which can have some side effects; however if it worsens your daily life you need to inform your doctor immediately. It will take few weeks after medication for you to feel better. Most of the medications given are considered safe during breastfeeding.
Apart from getting treatment for postpartum depression, you can help yourself by doing following things:
- Accept and ask for help
- Be with people who can give some comfort
- Eat nutritious foods
- Focus on little things
- Indulge in simple pleasures such as listening music, reading something uplifting
- Relax yourself
- Take proper rest
- Take time for yourself
Help Close Ones with Postpartum Depression:
If your partner or your close one is experiencing postpartum depression, it’s important that you encourage them to talk to psychiatrist or mental health provider. You can do following few things which can be helpful for her:
- Be patient
- Believe in her
- Give her some break from household work
- Go for a walk with her
- Listen when she wishes to talk
- Monitor her frequently to see how she is doing
- Share childcare responsibilities
Don’t be in a wait and watch mode and waste your valuable time in a hope that symptoms will get better. As a partner or close ones, instead of mocking her and telling her that she is weak, support her to take baby steps towards motherhood and create an environment to enjoy her new phase of life. With right kind of support and treatment, postpartum depression can be defeated and women can feel like her again.
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Ravi Shet is the writer of this article and Co-founder of Treatum, an online healthcare portal connecting patients with right doctors.
Disclaimer: The entire content of this article is for information purpose only and is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information. It is not a substitute for professional care and should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem and disease.