Postpartum depression-a horrid experience by a new mother! Postpartum depression is often confused by normal baby blues and is left untreated. However, it is to be noted that PPD is as real as any other illness and is rather a severe medical condition.
Postpartum depression is characterized by the feeling of sadness, anxiety, stress, lack of interest in daily activities and unable to perform the daily life tasks. The mother finds it difficult or nearly impossible to take care of herself and the new born. According to center of disease control and prevention, 20% of new mothers face PPD.
Postpartum depression starts within a month of child birth and lasts for more than two weeks. PPD should be treated as soon as possible. It not only affects the mother but also the new born. Proper supervision of the mother is needed who is suffering from PPD.
A part from the normal depression symptoms, PPD has its own diagnostic symptoms. These include:
- Feeling of sadness throughout the day. Mother suffering from PPD feels that she is not been loved and is worthless. This is followed by episodes of crying or/and screaming.
- Bouts of stress and anxiety. This can also lead to stomach cramps and body aches.
- Mother feels that she is unable to take care of the new born baby. She does not perform daily life activities and is generally indifferent towards the baby. Due to this, mother feels extremely guilty which worsen the situation.
- Not feeling hungry at all.
- Not feeling pleasure in life activities, decreased libido and not attracted towards the partner.
- Feeling tired most of the day with the wish to be in bed all the time.
Difference between baby blues and PPD:
When a new mother feels sad and has episodes of crying for few days then its ‘baby blues’. However, mother can easily perform her duties and feels sad for some time only. Baby blues generally vanish in early months after child birth and the mother feels totally normal after that. Baby blues need no treatment and is considered normal after child birth.
Postpartum depression lasts for more than two weeks and is rather severe medical condition as compared to baby blues. PPD NEEDS to be treated and does not cure on its own. Mother does not feel normal and cannot perform daily life activities.
Postpartum psychosis is more severe than PPD. Every one out of thousand new mothers suffers from postpartum psychosis. It is characterized by depression along with hallucinations (seeing things or hearing voices which are not real) and delusions (false beliefs). Patient feels suicidal and should be taken to the hospital as soon as possible. Postpartum psychosis is rare and severe medical condition.
Causes of Postpartum depression (PPD):
PPD has many causes which include:
- Sudden drop in reproductive hormones (estrogen and progesterone) after child birth. During pregnancy, reproductive hormones increase by many folds and just after child birth their level drops suddenly.
- Already having a history of depression and anxiety.
- Social pressures. Too much burden which cannot be handled.
- Financial pressures.
- Not been able to create balance in life after child birth.
- Not been able to take care of the baby properly.
- Living alone with no family support.
While these are the possible causes of PPD, it’s not obvious that these all causes lead to PPD. Only the hormonal imbalance is enough to cause PPD and thus many people think that all things are normal in the new mom’s life yet she is feeling sad. So, it’s generally left untreated and is thought to improve with time.
Possible treatment of Postpartum depression (PPD):
The mother who is doubted to be suffering from PPD should be taken to the doctor as soon as possible. Her doctor will then suggest counselling which should be strictly done. Doctor may also prescribe ant depressants which should be taken accordingly.
Apart from doctor’s advice, changes in life style can significantly improve the conditions. These changes include:
- Try practicing deep breathing various times in a day. Breathe in which all the muscles relaxed and take in all the fresh air. Then breathe out as in exhaling all the worries, stress and sadness out.
- Exercise daily.
- Talk and interact with your family specially your spouse.
- Rest while your baby is asleep. Ask someone to look after your baby and have enough sleep.
- Try taking proper meals.
- Ask your spouse to take care of the baby and indulge yourself in your favorite hobby for some time.
- Talk to other new mothers also. Many hospital offer these new mothers groups in which you can sit together and spend some time. This can have very positive affect as it distracts the patient and she can easily vent out her stress.
Postpartum depression (PPD) is horrid but certainly curable!
No doubt PPD is a nightmare for new mothers but by taking few steps it can be cured completely. New mothers should observe their behavior just after child birth and then tell their family if they aren’t feeling okay. Proper treatment is to be done so that mother can take care of herself, her baby and her family like she wants to. It is important to know that PPD is not your fault and is there is no need to feel guilty or ashamed of what you’re going through.