nto us a child is born and laughter fills the land. Songs of joy are accompanied by lullabies for the voice of a child reverberates within the home. This is the expected atmosphere any time a child is born but surprisingly, there are times when a sad mother might be lurking in the corner. Does this mean she’s not excited with the birth of her child? Does this mean she can’t stand her new baby? By no means! It simply shows that sometimes, baby blues and/or postpartum depression does happen to new moms and should be given its due attention.
What is postpartum depression?
(PPD) is a tricky combination of physical, emotional, and behavioral changes that happen in some women after giving birth.
Risk factors/causes of postpartum depression
There’s been no proven cause of postpartum depression because PPD is likely to happen to anyone. Notwithstanding, some triggers might intensify this issue like;
• Emotional stress from childbirth, neglect from a partner, unwanted pregnancy, child with a disability, and any other emotional burden.
• Health issues like substance abuse disorder, hormonal instabilities might trigger postpartum depression.
• Physical exhaustion and lack of proper sleep can naturally leave a person short-fused and irascible.
• A history of depression or any mental illness.
• A perfectionist might dive into depression from setting unrealistic expectations of the desired outcome.
Can postpartum depression be prevented?
PPD might not be preventable at all times but if there’s a history of depression;
• It’s advised to know your triggers like alcohol or drug abuse and avoid them. Generally being aware of postpartum depression might equip a person to guard themselves more diligently. Hence the saying, “knowledge is power.”
• When possible, get help with the baby and catch some well-deserved rest. This might help reduce irascibility.
• Join a support group
A problem shared (with the right person) is a problem half solved. Knowing that you’re not the only one feeling this mix of joy and frustration helps to relax a mum suffering from PPD and provide a new perspective on life.
Here are a few signs you might be going through postpartum depression…
These signs of postpartum depression are but are not limited to;
#1. Sleeping and appetite problems
It’s a given, being a new mum comes with its fair share of insomnia. However, in the case of postpartum depression, a new mum might find it hard to sleep even without physical exhaustion. In addition to this is a loss of appetite. It’s almost like the individual loses pleasure in everything including sleep and food.
#2. Intense mood swings
When postpartum depression kicks in, mood swings become the order of the day. There’s an overall sad feeling accompanied by crying without reason. This might seem normal during the first 2 weeks but if it goes beyond this timeline, it might be a case of PPD and shouldn’t be ignored.
#3. Difficulty bonding with the little one
There are cases when a mother suffering from postpartum depression harmed her child, especially in acute cases. If the individual is exhibiting signs of being irritated by her child and isn’t getting around to bonding with the baby, it’s advisable to seek professional help before matters escalate.
#4. Low self-worth
It’s natural to look in the mirror and feel less beautiful after your body has stretched itself to bring forth life. Depression sometimes slides in when you see the stretch marks, flabby belly, and other changes in your body. In addition to this, the ‘snap back’ pressure on social media makes matters worse.
#5. Anti-social behavior
You might notice a need to stay away from people slowly growing. From ignoring calls to turning a deaf ear to the incessant knocks on your front porch. If left unattended, postpartum depression could have you slowly but surely isolating yourself and this further debilitates matters.
There’s the occasional fear a new mom faces and then there’s paranoia in itself. A woman suffering from PPD is constantly in fear or paranoia with thoughts of hurting the baby living rent-free in her head. If these frightening thoughts persist, talk with your Ob-Gyn.
The first step is reaching out to a doctor. After running you through a series of questions, the doctor would decide on a suitable treatment plan. This is the reason why openness is a necessity. The more honest and open you are with your answers, the more you stand a better recovery chance.
Early detection helps to nip PPD right in the bud and facilitate recovery. Once diagnosed, the doctor usually prescribes a blend of psychotherapy and medication. Also, a stronger support system goes a long way.
• Affirmations: You are not going crazy. Keep telling yourself that healing is inevitable and it’s just a phase.
• Keep a diary: Try to pen down everything–the good, bad and ugly. It’s a way of letting out heat rather than bottling up and imploding/exploding.
• As much as you can, ask for help with the baby and chores. This would help you rest and have some “me” time.
• Find out from your doctor if the antidepressant is safe to ingest during breastfeeding.
• Have a reliable person on speed dial and do not hesitate to reach out whenever you have suicidal thoughts or an urge to harm your child.
Repeat these words to yourself daily
• I am not my weakness
• It’s only a thought, and a thought can be altered.
• I am much more than my opinions of myself
• No matter what my mirror shows me, I am beautiful
• I brought forth life and l choose to see my body’s changes as battle scars because I won
• I love my child and always will Deep at the core of my being is an endless spring of love.
• All is well in my life. Everything is working out for my optimal good. Out of this circumstance, only good will come. I am safe.
Cover Image: William Fortunato / Pexels
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