Postpartum depression is a mental condition that mothers get after giving birth. The illness presents itself as persistent sadness, extreme tiredness, and a lack of interest in caring for yourself and the baby. The condition typically begins 1 to 3 weeks after the baby is born and can become a severe form of depression without any intervention.
Contrary what some people believe, the mother is never at fault for having postpartum depression. Many women get depression after delivery. The leading cause of postpartum depression is hormonal changes after birth. Pregnancy hormones are at their peak during pregnancy. The hormones also affect your moods and emotional well-being. However, these hormones reduce drastically after delivery to their normal levels. The decrease can impact your mood negatively.
Although anybody can develop this condition after giving birth, the probability increases if:
Postpartum depression is not the same as baby blues. Baby blues develop 2 to 3 days after birth and tend to decrease in the first two weeks after the delivery. It is a consequence of hormonal changes. The mother becomes sad, cracky, and tearful for no apparent reason. Postpartum depression tends to be longer and severely affects women's ability to return to normal function.
The symptoms of post-natal depression should last for more than two weeks after birth. You should also have at least five symptoms for your counseling psychologist to diagnose it as postpartum depression. The signs include:
Emotionally, postpartum depression presents as
Behavioral symptoms include
Cognitive symptoms include
Postpartum depression needs immediate attention because it is a severe condition that affects the health of the mother and child.
Consult a psychotherapist if you suspect you could be having depression after giving birth. A therapist has the expertise, experience, and resources to diagnose and treat this mood disorder. You do not need to handle the burden of this illness alone. Talk to a therapist today.
A problem shared is a problem half-solved. Talk therapy enables you to talk out your issue with a professional trained to listen without judging. The counselor also guides you on how to sort out your feelings, thoughts, and stresses, which inform your behavior. The therapist can also include medication depending on your case.
Sharing your life with mothers in similar situations enables you to see life from a different lens. You get to celebrate each other's milestones and learn from failures. Support groups help you to see you are human.
Nobody is expecting you to be a super mother. You can overcome your mental struggles by developing mental resilience from such support groups.
Never shy away from asking for help. You have just given birth and have depression. Chances are anything is burdensome for you at this point. Surround yourself with loved ones who can assist with the baby as you fight for your mental health.
Living with people who love you also helps you not to withdraw from society. Depression thrives in isolation. Therefore, have your trusted company around.
Aside from support, loved ones are also excellent accountability partners.
There is no need to rush into motherhood. Rest until your mind and body heal. Have a loved one look after the baby until you are ready. It is not your fault that sickness interfered with your responsibility as a mother. Focus on getting better.
The body finds nutrients from the foods you eat to maintain your mental and physical health. You can stabilize your hormone levels with proper nutrition before, during, and after birth. Therefore, stock up on your proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. They are essential in regulating your hormones and stabilizing your mood. Do not forget to drink water. Water provides the environment for the body to work its magic and keep you healthy.