November 23, 2015 by Stacie Green
Postpartum Depression is a serious condition, and it is different the having the “baby blues” in which many women experience within the first couple weeks following childbirth. It usually doesn’t last that long and a woman will return to feeling like her typical self rather quickly. With Postpartum Depression, it is much more serious then that, and can last much longer.
Postpartum Depression is a serious illness that can occur after the first few months of giving birth. It definitely can also happen after a miscarriage or a stillbirth.
Postpartum Depression can make a new mother feel hopeless, worthless and at times as if they are just not good enough. The new mom may have extreme troubles in caring for and bonding with her baby. In some instances, the new mom may contemplate suicide. It is a very serious illness that definitely needs to have more awareness brought to it.
The potential causes of postpartum depression are:
If you have had Postpartum Depression before.
If you have had Postpartum depression before, it very well could happen again. Since you are aware of this, it is wise to get all of your supports in place just in case to help minimize this chance.
If mental illness runs in your family.
Mental illness is hereditary so a person who has that in their family, is definitely more likely to get Postpartum Depression then someone who doesn’t have it in their family.
If you don’t have a good support system in place, such as your spouse/partner, family, and friends.
While you are still pregnant, I would discuss this with the close people in your life, and explain to them why it is so important that you have a good support system. Even talk to your health care provider about it. Maybe you can find a support group before the upcoming birth to have some supports in place.
If you have a colicky baby
Having a colicky baby is hard. Again, it is important to have help, whatever that may look like for you. Your spouse/partner, a friend or family member etc just to give you some relief and some down time. That will help you a lot.
if you have a lot of other stressors in your life.
A lot of people have stressors in their life, and they are hard to avoid. Especially in this day and age. I think it is so important to try to minimize this as much as you possibly can after you have a baby, to lessen the possibility of developing Postpartum Depression. Have some people take on some of your responsibilities for a while till you are able to handle more. I know that all stressors can’t be taken away, but if they can be minimized, that will help.
The symptoms of a woman who has Postpartum Depression may be:
Feeling very sad and worthless, as if she doesn’t amount to anything. She may also feel empty inside and also can feel very anxious.
This is a tough one. It is hard to feel this way, and then to go on and perform daily living tasks as well as take care of a new baby. When this occurs, your healthcare professional should be notified immediately.
She may lose pleasure in every day things. Especially those things she use to enjoy to do.
When you are in this dark spot, it is so hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. She can’t find the happiness and the light there and nothing seems to bring her pleasure.
She may not be hungry and lose weight, sometimes rapidly from not eating, or she may actually gain quite a bit of weight by eating too much.
Similar to depression, many people go through this as well. Some find it very hard to eat, and eat very little or nothing, and some are emotional eaters which cause them to lose or gain weight.
Insomnia is also a huge symptom of Postpartum Depression.
This is largely due to hormones, as well as the mind not “shutting down” to rest. Therefore…a new mom has racing thoughts constantly that she can’t control and/or stop causing her to have sleeping issues.
Concentration is also very hard for someone who has Postpartum Depression.
This is likely due to the fact that there are racing thoughts going on in the mind constantly, and one thought doesn’t stay for long. There are so many new things she has to think about and take care of, and she may worry about these things as well.
Postpartum is often treated with therapy, as well as anti-depressants. If the new mother is breastfeeding, there are anti-depressants out there that have been approved by the FDA to take.
There are times, depending on the severity of the Postpartum Depression where the new mother can just go to therapy and not need to take the anti-depressants.
A great rule of thumb to help a woman with Postpartum Depression get better is to excercise and try to make wise and healthy choices of what she eats. Also drinking plenty of water. Trying to get as much sleep as possible is so important. And ask your spouse/partner, family and friends for support and help with things to help get you through this hard period.
The most important thing to remember is not to feel bad about yourself and embarrassed. It isn’t your fault at all, and you are not the only one who has gone through this. Many woman do. The important thing is, you have all your supports in place to be ready to deal with whatever may come your way, so that you have the best outcome you can have as well as the best support team, and you have a tremendous experience.