The birth of a baby can prompt a plethora of powerful emotions – joy of being a mother and anxiety or stress because of the sudden and huge changes in life. However, childbirth can also result in something you do not expect – depression.
From the time you had a positive pregnancy test to the time you were in labor, you’re feeling happy because of the precious gift you’re about to receive. However, if you’re a first-time mom who expected that childbirth is full of happiness, it might become upsetting and perplexing when you’re actually in the situation. You might experience sadness, stress, anxiety and other negative emotions. However, take note that you’re not alone. In fact, an estimated 40 to 80 percent of new moms experience a condition dubbed as “baby blues.”
It’s a state of being emotional – from tearfulness, self-pity, self-doubt, fatigue, and unhappiness. The condition is normal and should go away in a few days or weeks after giving birth.
For others, the feelings seem remarkably powerful and intense. In this case, it usually lasts longer than normal, which may hint a more serious problem – postpartum depression (PPD).
What Is Postpartum Depression?
Postpartum depression (PPD) is a depressive disorder linked to pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period. This condition is considered a biopsychosocial phenomenon that means it’s a combination of biological, psychological and social factors.
Many health experts link this phenomenon to a mother’s stress levels, lack of support from her husband and family and the massive changes in her life. Postpartum depression is primarily an issue of coping and adjustment.
What Causes Postpartum Depression (PPD)?
Many women suffer from acute depression right after they have given birth to their babies. This happens as a result of the hormonal changes that occur in the body during pregnancy.
When you’re pregnant, the levels of estrogen and progesterone increased dramatically during pregnancy. However, after giving birth, these hormones return to their normal levels after about 24 hours. The sudden drop in these hormones could lead to acute depression.
However, in postpartum depression, it happens in the first 4 to 6 weeks after childbirth. This condition seldom resolved on its own after this time.
What Are The Symptoms Of Signs And Symptoms?
Baby blues, which is an acute depressive state after giving birth is characterized by symptoms that may include mood swings, anxiety, irritability, sadness, feeling overwhelmed, crying for no apparent reason, reduced concentration, loss of appetite and trouble sleeping.
On the other hand, postpartum depression symptoms may appear as baby blues initially. The signs and symptoms are more severe and intense. Moreover, they last longer and may eventually interfere with the ability to perform daily activities and caring for the new baby.
The signs and symptoms of PPD may include severe mood swings, depressed mood, too much crying, social withdrawal, loss of appetite or eating too much, insomnia or sleeping too much, loss of energy, and reduced interest in activities. Other symptoms include difficulty bonding with your baby, intense anger, lack of concentration, guilt feelings, severe panic attacks, thoughts of self-inflicted pain or hurting the baby, and suicidal thoughts.
What Is The Treatment For Postpartum Depression?
In the early stages of the condition, it is important for you to talk to your doctor or a mental health professional. Your doctor might recommend that you see a counselor regularly. In more severe cases, antidepressant medications are given.
While PPD might go away on its own, the signs and symptoms usually go away more quickly with the help of both therapy and medication. The most important thing is, the husband, family and friends should offer their support to a first time mom to reduce the stress levels she’s feeling.
You can take steps to feel better. Motherhood is indeed a huge change in one’s life. The adjustment to motherhood can be incredibly stressful. You need to balance your new role, the care for infant and other family members, and of course, yourself.
Postpartum depression can be treated. By feeling more open to sharing your feelings with your loved ones and a professional, you will learn more about how to cope with stress and navigate your way to a more positive outlook on life
I am Stacy Belk, owner of MomWoot. Being a first-time mom is incredibly overwhelming. I’ve been there and today, I am aware that many new mothers are having a hard time coping with their new roles. I am a Postpartum depression survivor and I wish to share more information to mothers who are struggling today.