Being a woman comes with a blessing and a curse at the same time – the ability to grow a life. And as beautiful as it is to bring a new life into this world, it sometimes comes with serious health consequences.
One that is often neglected and frowned upon is postpartum depression.
Studies show that postpartum depression affects more than 1 in every 10 women within a year of giving birth. But, not only that. It can emotionally affect the partners as well.
What are the symptoms of postpartum depression?
Some people think that postpartum depression is less severe than other types of depression. That’s not true. It is as serious as other types of depression and it’s caused by many different factors.
Unlike the ‘baby blues’, which goes by in a few days or a maximum of two weeks after giving birth, postnatal depression can last for months and even become a long-term problem if not treated.
Although the symptoms can be different depending on the person, the most common ones include:
– Feeling numb or disconnected from your baby
– Feeling worthless and guilty for not being a good mom
– Feeling sad, overwhelmed, and crying a lot
– Worrying that you will hurt the baby
– A persistent feeling of sadness and ‘empty’ mood
– Avoiding contact with other people
– Suicidal thoughts
Are there any risk factors for postnatal depression?
As we stated earlier, the main cause of the depression is not very clear, but some women may be at greater risk.
Some of the factors include:
– Previous or family history of depression
– Stressful life events
– Preterm labor and delivery and/or birth complications
– Having a baby who has been hospitalized
– Being a teen mom
– Being a mom to multiples
But these factors don’t automatically mean that you’ll get postpartum depression if you’re a mom of triplets. Or that you won’t get it because your pregnancy and birth were ‘normal’ and healthy. There are no rules.
Treatments and getting help
The problem will not go away by itself if you ignore it or don’t want to admit it. It doesn’t mean that you’re a bad parent, that someone will take away your baby, or that you’re going crazy.
It can be quite a frightening period, but there are some things you can do to seek help and get yourself back on track. Start within your close ones and see if it’s getting any better.
Talk to your family, your partner and/or your friends about your feelings and how they can help you to make some time for resting and sleeping. Exercising and eating healthy can also benefit you, not just for postnatal depression, but also for recovery and life in general.
Visit your doctor and check if there’s any self-help course or therapy available in your area.
If there’s no improvement, your doctor can prescribe an antidepressant. Don’t feel ashamed if it comes to that. Just because society isn’t talking about it as much, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. Thousands of women deal with it every day.
Don’t be quiet about it
If you think that it’s supposed to be like that, that you should suffer and deal with it on your own, you’re wrong. Seek the help you need and deserve. Not just for your own sake, but for the sake of your family too. You deserve to enjoy motherhood.
If you’re reading this feeling hopeless, pessimistic, or ‘empty’, remember that you’ve been through a lot. Your body and mind have changed, but you did it. Postpartum depression is not your fault. It’s just how nature works sometimes.