Life after having a baby is really great but it can sometimes be very challenging and stressful. Even if you had planned it so perfectly before the child was born or how much you love your child, this major change in your life can be depressive and you have to learn to handle it. New parents, particularly mothers generally freak out because of new life, new responsibilities and lack of “me time”. This process of freaking out may get worse and it may seem impossible to manage your life with the newborn. This is known as Postpartum Depression or Postnatal Depression or PPD. If you feel like you may have postpartum depressed, you are not alone. Researches suggest Approximately 1 in 7 women experience postpartum depression.
A lot of women suffer from baby blues after the childbirth, which may include mood swings, feeling sad, anxious or overwhelmed, trouble sleeping, crying spells and decreased appetite. The baby blues are common and generally go away within a week or two. The symptoms are not severe but symptoms of postpartum depression are more severe and last longer. It severely affects a woman’s ability to get through her daily routine.
Postpartum depression or postnatal depression and the baby blues have many common symptoms, including mood swings, crying spells, sadness, insomnia, and irritability. Postpartum depression may look like the normal baby blues in the beginning. But symptoms of postpartum depression are more long-lasting, dangerous and severe such as suicidal thoughts or inability to care of the baby. Symptoms usually start within a few weeks of delivery. They may develop up to six months afterward.
Postpartum depression can begin anytime within the first year after the childbirth. The symptoms are quite similar to major depression:
- Isolation and withdrawing distancing yourself from your partner.
- Lack of interest in the baby. You don’t feel bonded to your baby.
- Anxiety, worry, panic attacks and low self-esteem. rapid mood swings or racing thoughts.
- Feelings of hopelessness guilt or worthlessness overwhelming.
- Preoccupied with negative thoughts like harming the baby or yourself.
- Feeling angry or irritable.
- A loss of interest even in enjoyable activities.
- Decreased focus and concentration.
Causes Of Postpartum Depression:
- Hormonal and physical changes after the childbirth. Huge drop in levels of estrogen and progesterone hormone. Thyroid levels may also drop, which leads to fatigue and finally depression.
- You might be dealing with physical pain after the delivery or the difficulty of losing a large amount of baby weight all of a sudden, making you feel your insecure about your physical attractiveness.
- External factors such as financial strain, job or life changes, illness, or the death someone close.
- Lack of a support from others.
- You are finding it hard to take care and fulfill the needs of the baby.
- Family history of mental health issues.
- Women who have had depression are at higher risk.
- You feel isolated and spend a lot of time at home with little adult company.
- Your relationship with your partner is going through difficulties.
How To Cope With Postpartum Depression:
If you feel you have symptoms of postpartum depression, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional.
Lifestyle changes can help reduce some symptoms of postpartum depression. The following activities may help you manage the increased stress that comes with the newborn baby:
- Try to get enough sleep.
- Exercise and get engaged in physical activities such as yoga, a small walk and stretching. Exercise may have an antidepressant effect on women with PPD.
- Surround yourself with a supportive network of family and friends. Whenever you feel vulnerable and anxious, it’s much more important to stay connected to family and friends. Postpartum depression is a serious medical condition that can severely affect the mother and her baby. But friends and family can always help mothers cope with the stresses of pregnancy.
- Don’t keep it to yourself, share it with your husband, family or friends. Share what you are feeling and experiencing the good, the bad, and the ugly. Shout it out.
- Try to get at least 10 to 15 minutes of sunlight per day.
- Eat regular, balanced meals, avoid fast foods. Healthy eating will give your body the nutrients it needs. Take enough omega-3 fatty acid foods such as seafood, cod liver oil. If you are a vegetarian, flexseed oil is an option for you.
- Ask others to watch your child for a while so that you can have a break and relax.
- Practice meditation and breathing exercises.