Thursday, October 10, 2013

Coping with post partum depression

Having a baby is a small miracle in the cycle of life. There are poems and beautiful quotes on how a baby fulfils you and makes your life better. But some people go into a deep depression after having a baby. This is called postpartum depression. It can occur in the first few months after having a baby. New mother feel a sense of hopelessness and despair and most often have difficulty in motivating themselves to care for the baby or even carry out normal activities.

Different kinds of depressions that affect a new mother Baby blues 

Sometimes, a mother, just after having a baby, can feel a bit sad. These are called ‘baby blues’. The new mother may feel teary eyed and despondent. They may have trouble sleeping and feel overwhelmed. This is usually because of the sudden feeling of being responsible for another being. The changes that have to be made because of a new baby are difficult to adjust to. And however many books you have read or classes you have attended, it never prepares you for the reality.
But once you get the hang of it, and set a routine, the blues usually disappear and you start enjoying your baby. ‘Baby blues’ are not postpartum depression. They are never as severe and disappear fairly quickly.

Postpartum depression 

This is a much more severe form of depression that could last for months. Postpartum depression is usually brought by changes in the body and erratic imbalance of hormone levels that affect a woman soon after birth. There are quite a few reasons why new mothers have postpartum depression.
  1. When there is little or no support from family members and friends.
  2.  If your baby is colicky and difficult to manage
  3.  If you are prone to depression already
  4. If you are not able to balance work and a new baby
  5. If you have a stressful lifestyle
  6. If you are genetically prone to bipolar disorder

In rare cases, a woman may have a severe form of depression called postpartum psychosis. She may act strangely, see or hear things that aren't there, and be a danger to herself and her baby. This is an emergency, because it can quickly get worse and put her or her baby in danger.

The symptoms for postpartum depression are: 

  • A feeling of hopelessness
  • Anxiety levels are high
  •  Severe mood swings
  • Fits of crying for no apparent reason
  • Sudden temper tantrums
  •  Loss of appetite
  • Insomnia
  •  Difficulty in concentration
  •  Weight gain
  • Feeling of unhappiness
  • A feeling of being misunderstood
  •  Lethargy

If you feel at least three or more of these symptoms and it lasts for more than two or three weeks, you probably are going through postpartum depression. Some of the serious consequences of post partum depression are:
  • A feeling of hatred towards the baby
  • A feeling of inadequacy
  • Hatred towards the spouse and other family members
  •  Feeling of apathy towards the baby
  •  Neglect of the baby
  •  Neglect of self
  •  Seeing and hearing things that didn’t happen
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Thoughts of harming the baby

How to help someone who is going through posts partum depression? 

It is very important to identify and take action if you feel that you are going through postpartum depression. Most new mothers are unaware that they are going though this ailment, so it is up to the people around them to make sure that the new mother gets the right kind of help as soon as possible. It may take time for a mother to overcome postpartum depression, but she can be helped and in time learn to love and enjoy her child.

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