Postpartum Depression is Real

photo by Martin Vika

Postpartum depression(PPD) is depression experienced by a mother after childbirth, usually due to the combination of hormonal changes, psychological motherhood adjustment and fatigue. This is a form of childbearing-related mood disorder, it may also have an adverse effect on newborns.

Postpartum depression is usually from one week to one month after childbirth. The precise cause of Postpartum depression is unknown because it is a  mixture of physical, mental, genetic and social factors. Hormonal changes leading to sudden and serious decrease in levels of oestrogen and progesterone after birth. Although most women experience a brief period of anxiety or unhappiness after childbirth, when the symptoms become serious and last for two weeks or more, postpartum depression may be assumed.

photo by Lykkebak

Depression isn’t, however, an indication that you do not love your newborn or enjoy his/her arrival, as some mothers fear. It is a psychiatric condition that can be managed successfully with the aid of support groups, therapy, and occasionally medications. One research showed that about 10% of new fathers had postpartum or prenatal depression, the highest levels can be found 3 to 6 months.

Symptoms can include:

  • Intense depression,
  • Low energy, anxiety, weeping spells,
  • Changes in habits of sleep or eating.
  • A feeling of being depressed and trapped,
  • Being unable to cope with a low mood that lasts longer than a week,
  • The feeling of being rejected,
  • Feeling guilty,
  • Regular irritability
  • Headaches,
  • Stomach aches,
  • Blurry vision
  • Lack of appetite
  • Loss of libido
  • Panic attacks
  • Recurrent exhaustion
  • Decreased energy
  • The parent loses confidence; the sense of inadequacy
  • An unexplained lack of interest in the new baby
  • Lack of willingness to see or remain in touch with friends

Postpartum depression is not the same as baby blues, affecting many new parents for a couple of days after they give birth. And, if, due to low mood, the desire to reassume everyday life is greatly compromised, that is a symptom of a longer-term depression. A lot of Postpartum depressed people don’t tell others how they feel. Partners, relatives, and friends who may pick up early on the symptoms of postpartum depression should be encouraged to seek professional care as soon as possible.

What you should do most effectively is to ask for support. Get assistance early. The earlier you seek support, the better you feel. Speak to your friends, relatives and your spouse. Speak to the physician or nurse. Therapy can help treat postpartum depression. Feed well and try to get some exercise.

Find time to organize a daily treat for yourself. It might be a park walk, a workout or a coffee and chat with friends.

Don’t blame yourself or others for wasting time with others who care about you. Set aside the opportunity to relax with your partner, family and friends. Your partner’s kiss and cuddle can be soothing, even though you don’t feel like having sex. Find out what networks of support are available within your region. 

You can get emotional and practical support from mothers in a similar situation. Information can be found online too.

Some of the support group in Ireland:

Kindly listen to this podcast as i talked about my experience and struggle with postpartum depression.