Postpartum Depression: The Hurricane Phase in a Woman’s Life

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“Of all the rights of women, the greatest is to be a mother.” —Lin Yutang

Bringing a new life into this world and being a mother can be the most miraculous event in a woman’s life. As a new mother, a woman faces a lot of struggles getting acquainted to life with a newborn. The birth of a baby can trigger a number of powerful emotions in a mother. These can range from excitement and joy to fear and anxiety. In the first few days of childbirth, a new mother goes through a variety of emotions. Feelings of sadness and crying bouts that follow childbirth are known as the “baby blues.” The baby blues are common and tend to decrease within a week or two and is often attributed to the hormonal changes that follow childbirth.

However, a mother may only know how she feels when the birth is followed by depression and anxiety. What about the deep emotional pain that comes haunting after childbirth? It is noted that approximately 70 to 80% of all new mothers experience some negative feelings or mood swings after the birth of their child. Another study of 10,000 moms with newborns found that about 1 in 7 get postpartum depression.

Why women suffer from depression after childbirth :

Postpartum Depression is a complex mix of physical, emotional, and behavioral changes that happen in a woman after giving birth. It is linked to chemical, social, and psychological changes associated with having a baby. It can start any time during the baby’s first year, but it’s most common for a mother to start to feel its effects during the first 3 weeks after birth. It is during this time, a woman feels sad, hopeless, and guilty because she may not feel like bonding or care for her baby. 

Postpartum Depression can torment the mother for weeks. Some of its symptoms include difficulty sleeping, appetite changes, excessive fatigue, and frequent mood changes. However, these are also accompanied by other symptoms of major depression, which are not normal after childbirth, and may include depressed mood, loss of pleasure, feelings of worthlessness hopelessness and helplessness,  thoughts of hurting someone else, to name a few.

The main cause of postpartum depression can be attributed to the change in hormone levels which take a sharp drop after childbirth. History of family depression and other issues can cause stress and culminate into serious problem for a mother causing postpartum depression. 

Effective ways to cheer yourself up :

However, if you’ve been diagnosed with postpartum depression, there are many things you can do to help yourself feel better.

The first and foremost is surrounding yourself with people who care and asking for help in case of a need. As a mother you should be realistic about your expectations from yourself and the baby and not work things up for both. Living healthy is the key as it provides both mental and physical stability during tough times. So it is advisable that, within the limits of any restrictions your doctor may place on your level of activity; you should exercise by taking a walk and getting out of the house for some break. It is also important to follow a sensible diet and completely deter from alcohol and caffeine. Bringing up the child is a shared responsibility of both the parents. so do not forget to foster the relationship with your partner, in fact, make time for each other. Keep in touch with family and friends and do not isolate yourself.

The journey and adjustment towards motherhood can be very stressful as a mother learns to navigate her new role, balancing care for herself and the baby. The entire period can be demanding, exhausting and overwhelming. However, as a new mother it is important to know that postpartum depression is not your fault rather is a medical condition that can be treated. By sharing your feelings with a professional, you will be able to make positive changes that will have a big impact on your physical and mental well-being.

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