Postpartum depression is quite a common trait observed in new mothers where they feel a little sad, worried, or fatigued. About 80% of new mothers have these feelings for a week or a fortnight, and these feelings are generally dismissed as ‘Baby Blues’.
This is a completely normal phenomenon and usually fades in two weeks.
However, if this depressed feeling lasts more than a fortnight, then you are suffering from postpartum depression.
It is a very common practice to confuse baby blues and postpartum depression as their symptoms sound the same.
What is Postpartum Depression?
You probably might have heard of the term “baby blues”. It is because it’s quite common for new mothers to feel a little depressed, worried, sad, or fatigued.
The symptom is quite common and is noticed in 80 percent of the mothers. This depressed feeling lasts for a week or two following childbirth.
According to doctors, it is completely normal and is seen to fade in a few weeks.
However, some of the symptoms sound the same, postpartum depression is totally different from the baby blues.
Postpartum depression is much more complex and has powerful symptoms that are seen to last longer.
It is seen in 15 percent of mothers after childbirth, both among first-time moms and those who have already given birth before.
Postpartum depression can cause severe exhaustion, mood swings, and a sense of hopelessness. The intensity of the depressed feelings can be so worse that it might make it difficult for you to care for your baby or yourself.
Postpartum depression shouldn’t be taken lightly as it is a serious disorder. But one can overcome this through treatment. Postpartum depression affects around 1 out of 7 women.
Unfortunately, it can have an adverse effect on the well-being of both the child and the mother.
However, according to statistics, one in every five mothers maintain silence about their symptoms and hence they are never treated.
Postpartum depression does not disappear on its own, unlike the baby blues which disappear on its own.
The condition can occur days or even months after the birth of your child and last for a few months without treatment.
Symptoms of Postpartum Depression?
It is normal to feel lethargic and moody after having a baby, but postpartum depression is more of a long-lasting and severe mood disorder.
Its symptoms are severe among new moms and can interfere with your ability to function. Symptoms of postpartum depression vary widely from person to person.
The symptoms are most likely to start within a few weeks of delivery. Sometimes, postpartum depression does not surface until months later.
Symptoms may go away for a day or two but return later. The symptoms will continue to worsen without any treatment.
List of Postpartum Depression Symptoms
If you are suffering from postpartum depression, chances are you’re familiar with most of these symptoms.
The list of symptoms usually include:
- You feel overwhelmed. The feeling is like you cannot do this and you will never be also to do it. In other words, you feel like you just can’t handle being a mother. In fact, at times you might even wonder whether you should have become a mother in the first place.
- If you suffer from postpartum depression, you feel guilty because you feel you should be handling new motherhood better than the way you are handling it. You feel like your baby deserves better. At times, you worry that you can’t take care of yourself and don’t get connected with your baby. You start thinking about whether your baby would be better off without you.
- You feel irritated or angry and have no patience. Everything around seems to annoy you. You feel annoyed toward your baby, or your partner, or your friends. You feel out-of-control, and have emptiness and numbness around you. It is that you are just going through the motions. You feel sadness to the depths of your soul. At times you can’t stop crying, even when there are no real reasons to cry.
- You do not feel bonded to your baby. You lack that bliss that you see on TV or read about it online. Not everyone with postpartum depression feels this way, but most people do. You are very confused and scared. You’re unable to understand why this is happening around you.
- You feel as if the scenario will never get better and the situation is hopeless like this situation will never ever get better. At times, you even feel like a failure.
- Your sleeping pattern has gone for a toss and you are either sleeping in odd hours or wake up abruptly in odd hours. Either you are always sleeping or you cannot seem to stay awake. Whichever it is, your sleeping is completely messed up and it’s not just because you have a new-born.
- You cannot concentrate or focus on anything. Feeling like at a loss of words when you want to say. Also, you cannot remember what you were supposed to do. You cannot make a decision. Sometimes, you feel like you’re in a fog.
- There is a feeling of disconnect and feeling strange, apart from everyone for some reason. You are unable to comprehend why you cannot just get over it. You always feel that you will be able to break out but you are not able to do so.
- At times, you might have thoughts of running away and leaving your family behind. Or you have thoughts of taking too many pills, driving off the road, or finding some other way to end this misery. You know there is something wrong. The way you are feeling is NOT right. You tend to think you’ve gone crazy.
- Moreover, you have resigned to your fate and accept that this is a new reality and your old self is lost forever. You are afraid that people will constantly judge you if you try to reach out for help. You’ll be in constant fear that your baby will be taken away from you..
Your friends and family will definitely notice that you are withdrawing from them and from social activities or that you just don’t seem like yourself.
How Severe is Your Postpartum?
The severe nature of your anxiety symptoms or postpartum depression will dictate how long it will take for you to come out of the depression.
Research studies have found that more severe depression is associated with a decreased likelihood of early recovery. It means the worse your symptoms are, the longer it might take for you to get back to normal.
Tips on How to Deal with Postpartum Depression
Postpartum depression is a treatable disorder and you can manage it effectively, and you will feel better. But first and foremost, it is important for you to reach out to your doctor and ask for help.
Do not struggle with postnatal depression alone.
You need to understand that it is your fault that you are depressed, and being depressed does not make you a bad parent. Once you have consulted your doctor, there are a few other things you can do to deal with postpartum depression.
1. Fight Isolation
Remaining in seclusion and staying alone with your feelings can feed into your depression. It’s not necessary to have a very hectic social life, but do try to maintain relationships with your closest relatives.
It can help you feel connected. If you’re comfortable in a group or among friends, you can join a depression support group to cope with your depression.
If you’ve stopped participating in previously enjoyable group activities, try them again to see if it helps. Being in a group can help you share and focus on other things and relieve stress.
2. Rest and Relax
After you have become a mom, both your body and your spirit needs a good night’s sleep. If your baby doesn’t sleep for long hours, get someone to take a shift so you can sleep.
On the other hand, try a hot bath, a good book, watch movies or whatever helps you relax. Massage and meditation and also effective ways to help ease tension and help you fall asleep.
Lately, you might just want to keep your feelings to yourself, especially if you’re a naturally an introvert.
But it is important to understand that it is helpful to talk things over with someone you trust or is dear to you. You may realize that you’re not alone and that others are willing to listen to you.
4. Taking Good Care of Yourself
Taking care of yourself is perhaps one of the best ways to relieve or prevent postpartum depression. Make simple lifestyle choices, like eat a diet rich in omega 3 fatty acids and sleep when your baby sleeps.
The lower the quality of your sleep, the more severe your depression will be. These changes can improve your health and mood and help you to feel more like yourself again.
5. Get Some Sunshine
Your mood can improve significantly when you get an exposure to natural sunlight and fresh air.
Whatever be your condition, you must take the stroller outside for at least half an hour.
6. Pamper yourself
Even during your hectic schedule, take some time out from your mom duties. Take small initiatives to indulge yourself.
Catch up on your favorite movie, take a bubble bath, or perhaps light some soothing scented candles.
You must note that in the end, no doctor can make you attend the appointments. If you do not discuss things in detail with your therapist, the therapy won’t work.
If you are not willing to try some of the coping techniques suggested by your counselor, the counselling fails.
No medication will work or will be effective if you don’t take it regularly, or you only take it some days.
No support group will be of any help if you do not attend. Poor sleep and lack of nutrition can prevent anybody from being healthy.
Remember that you have to take the key role in your recovery process.
Taking care of yourself and making your health will have to be the first priority and it will be the best gift you can give to both your baby and yourself.
It starts from the day you get to know that you are going to be a mother.
Getting regular checkups and appointments for obstetrics: antenatal care and postnatal care will help you taking good care of yourself and your baby.
If you have any queries or to book an appointment with us, call at our official number and reserve your slot today.