The birth of a baby triggers different kinds of emotions, and they can range from excitement and joy to anxiety and fear.
If you have been trying for a long time to get a child and you finally have one nothing can beat this feeling, but sometimes childbirth can also come with depression which is something that few mothers expect.
In fact, close to eighty percent of all moms will go through a form of depression in the first two weeks after birth with the most common form being the postpartum depression.
What Is Postpartum Depression?
Just as the name suggests, it is the kind that occurs after childbirth, and it affects a high percentage of mothers. However, it can also start a few months before birth, and there is still no evidence as to what causes it, but scientists believe that it is a result of hormonal imbalances and sleep deprivation.
Mothers with this condition will experience feelings of anxiety, extreme sadness, and exhaustion and in most cases, they will not be able to complete their daily activities.
This form of depression can come as late as one year after childbirth and so even if you do not have it after birth you should still be cautious because you are still not safe from it.
It will affect the way a mother thinks about herself, how she relates to others and her interaction with the world around. In some severe cases, it can even make her neglect the newborn child and so it is important to treat it as soon as you see the symptoms.
Symptoms To Watch Out For
The symptoms for this type of depression will vary from one mother to the other just like with other forms of depression. And so there are no universal symptoms that all women experience, but the following are some of the most common ones.
- A feeling of sadness and being overwhelmed is one of the most common symptoms of this condition. You may find yourself doubting whether you will ever be able to adjust to being a mom.
- Some mothers will also feel that they are not bonding with their infant.
- You may also feel that you are confused or scared because you do not know what is happening.
- Emptiness and numbness are also a common feeling with moms that are going through depression.
- You may also feel weak and hopeless like you are in a situation that you cannot get out of or things will never get better.
- For some mothers, the only thing that comforts them is eating all the time while others will not feel like eating anything.
- Sleep deprivation is a leading cause of this condition, but it is also one of the main symptoms because it is hard to sleep when you are depressed.
- You may feel apart from everyone or that nobody cares about what you are experiencing.
- Everything will also annoy you, and you will have little or no patience with anything or anyone.
- Some mothers will also not be able to remember things, and they may lose the ability to focus and concentrate.
The Five Stages Of Postpartum Depression
Unfortunately, the process of overcoming this form of depression is not easy because it can take months to recognize it and treat it.
However, in most cases, it will depend on the mother and her willingness to overcome the condition. But, most will go through the following five stages when dealing with their depression.
Stage 1: Denial
At first you will dismiss it as a regular occurrence that comes with any pregnancy and assume that it should go away after a few days or weeks as it is the case for most mothers.
Stage 2: Anger/Rage
The second stage is all about rage as you question why this should happen to you when you are supposed to be happy with your newborn. Anger also comes from the fact that you do not want to go to therapy or take any medication.
Stage 3: Haggling
At this stage, you are bargaining with your body and mind as you are looking for some form of consolation. You tell yourself things like praying more or exercising should take care of things, but this is never the case.
Stage 4: Depression
Stage four is the onset of the depression, and at this point things are serious, and you need help. Here you just feel like you are not good enough for your baby.
You may also feel that you are weighing everyone down, and want to disappear because you think they would be happier without you and your troubles in the picture.
Stage 5: Accepting
Once depression sets in, the next stage is accepting that what is happening to you is not normal and neither is it okay.
It is at this point that you also accept that therapy or seeing a doctor and asking others for help is fine.
How Is It Treated?
Postpartum depression is treatable, and so you should not just accept it and suffer in silence. Once you accept that you have it and you need help, a doctor will recommend one or both of the following two treatments.
Antidepressants are the most common types of medication that doctors will use to treat this condition. They work by meddling with the brain chemicals that regulate moods and will take a couple of weeks for maximum effectiveness.
Although they are safe when you are breastfeeding, it is a good idea to ask the doctor to tell you the benefits of taking them and any risks that they may pose.
With this form of treatment you will get one-on-one sessions with mental health experts that may include therapists, psychiatrist, psychologist, or even a social worker. And for this, you can get either Interpersonal Therapy or Cognitive Behavior Therapy.
Other Important Things To Know
- Contrary to what most people think it can affect both parents and so even fathers can also have it.
- All perinatal anxiety and mood disorders are treatable, and they will not last for long if you get help.
- Suffering from depression does not mean that you are a bad parent or that you are not ready for parenthood.
- If you do not get help, it can lead to other severe health and mental issues.
- Worrying too much about the condition will only make things worse for you.
- Sharing your feelings with a spouse or friends and family can sometimes be enough to get rid of the depression.
Postpartum depression is a severe mental ailment that affects most mothers, but you should not let it prevent you from enjoying the joy of motherhood. If you suspect that you might be having it just accept the situation and seek help and everything will be okay.