When most women are having a baby it is a stressful time for them, regardless of how much they are looking forward to welcoming their new addition to the family. If you are expecting, it will be perfectly normal to have baby blues, but if the symptoms get worse or continue for a few weeks, you might be suffering from postpartum depression. Read on to know more…
What is Postpartum Depression and How Can You Cope with It?
Postpartum depression, known also as postnatal depression, is a form of clinical depression that can affect both women and men after childbirth, and it can interfere with the woman’s ability to care for her baby.
There are actually two types of postpartum depression. You have the maternity blues or postpartum, a mild mood form that can last a short time, and postpartum major depression, a more severe type that is potentially life threatening. In any case, this is a serious problem that you should not be ignored.
Symptoms and Signs of Postpartum Depression
In the beginning, this condition might seem like the regular baby blues. This is because the two share most of the symptoms such as crying jags, mood swings, irritability, insomnia, and sadness. The difference is that postpartum depression comes with more severe symptoms, such as the inability to take care of the newborn or the tendency to have suicidal thoughts, and they will last longer.
In general, postpartum depression starts soon after the baby is born and will develop gradually in several months. However, it could also start suddenly and some women notice the first signs months after giving birth.
Postpartum Depression Causes and Risk Factors
There are unknown reasons why some women develop this condition after having a baby, but it’s linked to many interrelated causes as well as risk factors. Some of the causes include:
Physical and emotional changes which results from childbirth. You might be struggling with physical pain or even the difficulty of getting rid of the extra weight.
Hormonal changes which result from a significant decrease in the levels of progesterone and estrogen hormones.
Thyroid levels can decrease as well to cause depression and fatigue. The rapid change in hormones, in addition to the ones in blood pressure, metabolism, and immune system functions can trigger your postpartum depression.
The stress of taking care of a new baby can take a toll on you as well. It is common for new mothers to suffer from sleep deprivation. You might also feel anxious and overwhelmed about your abilities to care properly for your baby.
It is more likely for some women to develop this condition, and these are some of the factors that could increase your risk:
- History of serious or severe premenstrual dysphoric disorder
- Depression in the past
- Medical problems for your baby or you
- No support from your family members or friends
- Relationship problems
How to Cope With Postpartum Depression
Make some time for yourself daily, if it is just fifteen minutes. Try to do something that gives a good feeling about yourself or to stay relaxed. You want to ensure that your basic needs are satisfied. This means sleeping and eating well; the feelings will go away when you feel better.
Ask others for support during your difficult time. You can get help in many ways, from family and friends doing laundry, and cooking meals for therapy.
Get a lot of rest as it can be quite tiring for you to care for a newborn twenty-four hours a day. Moms who are suffering from postpartum clinical conditions are not able to sleep whenever they want, but still it is important to take rest breaks. Ask for help with child care, chores at home, and errands.
Share feelings with persons who you trust, like a sympathetic friend. You could also join support groups for mothers. You might be surprised to find out that many others are struggling with the same feelings. It would also help if you have a partner who is supportive.
Keep a diary to record of thoughts and emotions daily. Let everything out and then monitor your progress once you start to feel better.
You should also pay attention to your outward appearance. Some persons feel better on the inside when they take care of their physical self. Ask your partner/spouse or a good friend to care for your baby while you take relaxing showers. You could also wear makeup when going out and buy new outfits to put on, especially on the difficult days when you need a little boost.
If you are still struggling with your postpartum depression, despite getting support from others and doing self-help activities, you might have to get professional treatment. This depression will respond to similar treatments as the ones used for regular depression. Proper treatment/therapy, and support groups will help you to delight in the real joys of motherhood.