Giving birth is an experience that changes you. Holding your baby in your arms for the first time can bring overwhelming joy. However, it can also welcome postpartum depression. Even though this problem accompanies 15% of births, very few people talk about it. As a result, new mothers can end up feeling inadequate and miserable.
Read on to know what the postpartum blues are!
What is postpartum depression?
Postpartum depression is essentially a mood disorder. It occurs in women who have just given birth. The symptoms can range from mild to severe. They can make it hard for mothers to perform daily tasks.
What is the difference between postpartum blues and baby blues?
Baby blues occur in almost 80% of births. They develop a day or two after giving birth and generally last up to 2 weeks.
Having a child can be hard. It takes time to learn how to take care of one. This period of trial and error can make new moms feel sad or worried. Baby blues disappear on their own, as the new mom finds her feet.
Postpartum blues, on the other hand, do not go away on their own. They make new moms feel severely depressed. They may even make a mother question her ability to be a good mother. They find it hard to connect with their baby, and often feel listless. This can be bad for both the mother and the baby, therefore it’s best to consult a health expert on MediBuddy if you suspect that you are suffering from postpartum blues.
Postpartum depression symptoms to watch out for
Postpartum depression symptoms align with the symptoms of clinical depression. You may experience:
- Excessive crying.
- An inability to bond with the baby.
- Fluctuations in appetite – either a total loss of appetite or a huge increase in appetite.
- Fluctuations in sleep patterns – insomnia or excessive sleeping.
- Feeling as though you are a bad mother.
- Social withdrawal.
- Anger or anxiety.
- Recurrent thoughts of death and suicide.
- Panic attacks.
- Engaging in activities that harm yourself.
- Inability to focus or concentrate.
- An Inability to make decisions.
- Worthlessness or ashamed of yourself.
If you identify with any of these signs of postpartum depression, you should speak to a healthcare professional immediately.
While it is rare, some new mothers can develop psychotic depression. The signs of psychotic depression typically appear within a week of giving birth. They include the following:
- Hallucinations and/or delusions.
- Disorientation and confusion.
- Obsessive thoughts about the baby.
- Attempts to harm the baby or yourself.
- Problems sleeping.
- High levels of energy.
- High levels of agitation.
Psychotic depression can lead to catastrophic outcomes such as harming the baby. This condition must be treated immediately.
Can fathers experience postpartum blues?
Yes! Fathers can also experience postpartum blues. They may also feel hopeless, tired, and depressed. Many feel unable to take care of their families. Postpartum blues in fathers requires the same level of attention as it does in mothers.
How is postpartum depression treated?
You must see a postpartum depression therapist in order to receive treatment for the same. The treatment type will vary with your needs. However, the types of treatment can be broadly classified as:
Postpartum counselling can help new mothers come to terms with their condition. By speaking with a therapist, new mothers can either undergo cognitive behaviour therapy or interpersonal therapy. The former helps patients combat negative thoughts and emotions. The latter helps them work through negative relationships.
Anti-depressants are also used for postpartum depression treatment. These pills are safe for breastfeeding mothers. Sometimes, the postpartum depression treatment may also include anti-anxiety pills.
Natural treatments for depression
You may be worried about taking medications while breastfeeding. If so, seek natural treatments for depression. The following are a few natural treatments for depression:
Include omega-3 fatty acids in your diet through foods like salmon and tuna can help you ease depression. Similarly, foods rich in folic acids, such as avocado and spinach, can have the same effect.
- Sleep more
As a new mother, sleep is probably hard to come by. Ask your friends and family to watch your baby while you sleep for an hour or two. Balancing your sleep cycle can have profound effects on depression.
- Supplements for depression
You can consider taking supplements for depression. Fish oil, SAMe (or S-adenosyl-L-methionine) and folic acid can be effective supplements for depression.
How to battle depression?
The first step in fighting depression is admitting that you are depressed. This will allow you to seek help. Another crucial step in fighting depression is to stop comparing yourself with other moms! It is natural for you to feel overwhelmed. Give yourself time to learn what’s best for the baby.
Do not let postpartum blues mar your relationship!