It is every woman’s dream to have her own little fairy tale of a family. But the road to get there isn’t decorated with soft flower petals. It is one that has you walk on thorns, just to get through the day. Let’s leave aside the mood swings and morning sicknesses of pregnancy and the unbearable pains of labor. Let’s talk about postnatal depression, also known as postpartum depression.
What is postnatal depression:
Postnatal depression is different from baby blues and normal stress and exhaustion of new parenthood. Don’t worry ladies, don’t be scared if you find yourself not feeling the happiness of motherhood all the time. This is a fairly normal condition. But it does not mean you should not seek treatment. You might even show symptoms during pregnancy.
If you show five or more of these symptoms for more than two consecutive weeks, it is essential that you get it checked for you and for your baby:
- Extreme sadness, the stress and exhaustion
- Loss of interest in usual activities
- Insomnia and trouble staying awake at daytime
- Changes in appetite and weight
- Feelings of worthlessness and guilt
- Restlessness or sluggishness
- Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
- Delusional thoughts and hallucinations about harming the baby
- Worrying excessively about the newborn or being uninterested and unable to take care of him/her.
Postnatal depression is caused by combination of hormonal, environmental, emotional and genetic factors that are beyond your control. So don’t assume responsibility and feel guilty over your condition. Anxiety and depression during pregnancy might also cause PPD. Physical exhaustion after giving birth, emotional adjustment of becoming a parent and sleep deprivation are also reasons for the depression.
Are you at risk of postnatal depression:
- Depression or anxiety during pregnancy
- Stressful life events during pregnancy or after birth
- Traumatic childbirth experience
- Preterm delivery
- Lack of social support
- History of depression
- A baby that needs intensive neonatal care
- Breastfeeding problems
- Baby blues
- Unplanned or unwanted delivery
- Multiple births
The treatment for postnatal depression is similar to that of depression during pregnancy. Regular check-ins and regular therapy sessions would help you recover soon as possible. You will benefit a lot from one on one counseling and psychotherapy, as well. If you have a severe case of it, you could opt for antidepressants to get on with daily life. Some women even have to undergo Electroconvulsive Therapy.
How to cope with it:
- Be good to yourself
- Don’t demand too much of yourself. Take things slow
- Ask for support. It’s a lot of work to take care of a baby
- Share your feelings with your partner
- Pamper yourself just as much as the baby
- Rest and relax
- Venture outdoors