You’ve just given birth to a wonderful baby, still you’re not feeling thrilled about that. In fact, you’re feeling unhappy, weepy, moody, and irritable. Don’t worry! Baby blues are perfectly normal. New moms often feel better after getting some rest and help with their babies.
However, if your baby blues continues for more than two weeks, then maybe you’re experiencing the postpartum depression. You should continue reading to find out more about it.
What is the postpartum depression?
Postpartum depression is moderate to severe depression that occurs in woman after the childbirth. It may even appear one year after your delivery. However, most of the time, postpartum depression occurs within the first three months.
In very rare occasions though, an extreme form of the postpartum depression, known as the postpartum psychosis, may develop.
To find out whether you’re suffering from the postpartum depression or not, take this quiz. If the quiz reveals to you that you suffer from this unpleasant mood disorder, know that you’re not alone. This isn’t the character flaw or weakness. Very often, it’s simply a complication of giving birth.
Prompt treatment can help you manage your symptoms and enjoy your baby. Talk to your physician or shrink about it. You can help yourself, as well. Keep reading to find out how.
What causes the postpartum depression?
The exact cause of the postpartum depression is still unknown. Since it’s a complex condition, there is no single cause of it. Some changes that may contribute to this type of depression include:
- Hormonal and physiological changes. After the childbirth, you may experience the dramatic drop in hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone. This may contribute to postpartum depression. Also, other hormones play their roles in this process. For example, thyroid gland hormones may also drop dramatically after the childbirth, causing you to feel tired, sluggish and depressed. Other changes in your body, for instance those in blood volume, blood pressure, immune system, and metabolism can contribute to fatigue and mood swings.
- Emotional changes. Other name for pregnancy should be the emotional swings. The same is true for the period after the delivery. It’s perfectly normal to be sleep-deprived, overwhelmed, questioning your ability to take care of your child, feeling less attractive, having less time and freedom for yourself, having low self-esteem. Still, because of all this you may be feeling depressed and having trouble handling even the minor problems and tasks.
- Lifestyle changes. Of course there will be some lifestyle changes. You’ve just brought a new family member into your household. Your family is now richer and stronger. Still, you’re maybe experiencing problems with the demanding baby or older sibling, having difficulties with breast-feeding, having little support from family and friends, experiencing lack of support from your partner, having less time and freedom for yourself, experiencing changes at work and in social relationships, financial problems, etc. All this may lead to postpartum depression.
What are the symptoms of the postpartum depression?
Postpartum depression shares many symptoms with the ‘ordinary depression’. I’ve already written about the signs and symptoms of depression in one of my previous posts, so I won’t repeat them here.
However, the postpartum depression can interfere with your ability to take care of your baby and handle other daily tasks. If you’re a new mother experiencing postpartum depression, you may also feel that:
- you’re unable to take care of yourself and your baby
- you’re afraid to be alone with your baby
- you have negative feelings toward the baby
- you’re thinking about harming your baby
- you intensely worry about the baby
- have little interest in the baby
You’re maybe scared with your feelings about harming your baby, but mothers experiencing these feelings almost never act on them. Still you should inform your doctor about them right away. You shouldn’t be ashamed of yourself or disgusted with yourself about these feelings. It’s not your fault you’re experiencing them and they’re not something you can control.
They’re just that: negative feelings that’ll pass. You’re a responsible mother that admits she has a problem and you’re doing everything you can to deal with your problem adequately (speaking with your doctor, therapist, counselor or support group).
How to handle the postpartum depression?
Here are some ways to handle this type of depression:
- Ask for help and accept offered help. Family and friends probably can’t wait for you to call them and ask for help you with your baby. Most people love babies and love to be around babies. So use this fact and ask your family and friends to help you during the difficult times. Accept their help with gratitude.
- Don’t be perfectionist. Be kind to yourself and lower your expectations to a realistic level. You don’t need to impress anybody. Just go through your day, one day at a time. Don’t be harsh on yourself if the house isn’t perfectly clean or tidy. For Christ’s sake woman, you’ve just had a baby!
- Take regular walks with your baby for at least 15 to 20 minutes. This will not only benefit you, but also your baby. Especially, if you take a walk in the park or in nature. Light walking is the perfect physical activity. It helps not only with depression, but also with the extra pounds you’ve gained in pregnancy. Walking will boost your endorphins and you’ll feel better afterwards, I guarantee.
- Incorporate more good cholesterol in your diet. According to the new research, low-cholesterol can influence mood changes and among them cause depression. So eat more unsaturated, polyunsaturated fats, and omega-3 fatty acids, like cold pressed oils (olive), nuts, and fish (salmon or tuna).
- Cut the vicious circle of negative thoughts. As I’ve already written in my previous post: ‘You’re a human being and it’s perfectly normal to think negative thoughts, from time to time. But don’t allow negative thoughts overwhelm you.’ Read this post again to learn how to acknowledge your positive qualities and value them more.
I hope that this information about the postpartum depression dispelled your fears and concerns.
Please share in the comments: What do you find most struggling and challenging in dealing with the postpartum depression? What helped you beat this condition? What advice would you give other women in similar situation?