Postpartum depression (PPD) occurs soon after giving birth of the mother. Research shows more than half of women suffer from mild to severe postpartum depression due to hormonal changes in the body and chemical changes in the brain. About 10-15% of mothers are diagnosed to have major postpartum depression. It is important to note that this type of depression should not be attributed to weak personality or lack of emotional stability. It is a biological, thus medical illness.
Signs and Symptoms of PPD
- Prolonged depressed state
- Overwhelming feelings that often lead to bouts of crying, mood swings and irritability
- Neglecting oneself
- Lack of interest to the baby
- Guilt feeling and unworthiness
- Anhedonia or inability to experience enjoyment from usually pleasurable activities
- Recurring thoughts about death and suicide
Some mothers only experience postpartum blues which could last to as much as 2 weeks. With emotional support and demonstrated caring from loved ones, these feelings usually go away. But if the condition persists after a short time, professional help needs to be undertaken.
Prevention and Early Detection:
If you are an expectant mother and your family has a history of postpartum depression, you should consult your gynecologist if you need to undergo psychotherapy before your due date. Early detection and counseling sessions could significantly improve PPD tendencies. Some experts also recommend taking antidepressants for mothers who had previous experience of PPD.
10 Tips to Help You Survive Postpartum Depression
- Do not isolate yourself. Spend time with supportive and caring friends and relatives
- Get a nanny to take care of housework so that you can focus on yourself and the baby
- Share your feelings with someone who is willing to listen probably your husband.
- Do not feel ashamed of asking professional help. Attend psychotherapy sessions if necessary to help you cope with your condition.
- Take an occasional time off. Take a walk, go to the beach, go out with friends etc. This could avert your attention from your overwhelming emotions.
- Busy yourself by reading self-help books, stories and articles about postpartum depression.
- Take a nap as much as you can. You need a good amount of sleep more than anything else.
- Make sure that you always look good. Take a bath everyday and put on nice clothes.
- Invite friends to an afternoon snack or get-together in your home. They would surely love your baby which can help you appreciate every single moment with your newborn child.
- If the condition persists, consult to a health care provider. Your gynecologist should be able to give you a direct referral to a trusted physician.
Research shows that children who were raised by mothers with PPD fall behind in their developmental growth than their counterparts whose mothers did not go through postpartum depression. You do not want this to happen to your child.
Medications and self-help books can only help you so much. Your ability to surpass postpartum depression would largely depend on your own willingness to transcend from your present situation. Make sure to follow the tips listed above as a structure to cope with your debilitating emotions.