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Depression After Delivery: Fact Or Fiction?

4 min read

If you ask any mother what her greatest joy in life is, it is likely that she would say “having my babies”. This is because motherhood is one of the sweetest rewards of being a woman, it sort of adds to them, if not completes them. However, with every good thing comes a bad. If not always, a lot of times women admit to having symptoms of depression right after birth. Depression after birth: sounds too negative to be associated with something as blissful as giving life to someone right? No matter how weird it may sound, it is a reality and a nightmare for those who go through it. But does it actually exist or it’s just hype? Let’s find out!
postpartum depression

What Is Postpartum Depression?

Essentially, postpartum depression is a feeling of sadness and depression after giving birth. Though its milder form is known as Baby Blues – emotional feeling of sadness, unhappiness, and tearfulness right after giving birth, goes away within a week or two after delivery, Postpartum depression is a serious condition and should not be taken lightly. Such patients need immediate medical help in order to regain normal routine.

Signs And Symptoms Of Postpartum Depression
  1. Hopelessness, sadness and feelings of emptiness
  2. Unprovoked and unexpected crying
  3. Loss of interest in daily things
  4. Lack of enjoyment in usual hobbies
  5. Trouble falling asleep, insomnia
  6. Abnormal appetite
  7. Sluggishness or restlessness
  8. Feelings of worthlessness
  9. Extreme temperament
  10. Feeling of exhaustion
Is It Natural To Be Depressed After Giving Birth?

Of course not! However, it is completely normal to feel low and sad. This is because of so many hormonal changes that your body is going through after delivery. Around 40-60% women admit to having baby blues after giving birth, but this usually subsides by its own. In other words, it is definitely something that happens with a lot of women but it is completely Ok to have such after-birth effects. But we cannot say that it is completely mandatory for a woman to fall into depression due to birthing. It depends on person to person. While you would be sitting at home feeling all low and down, there could be another woman completely normal and content with her life after giving birth. But rest assured you are not alone!

Can Your Newborn Baby Make You Depressed?

It would be wrong to blame the poor little thing, who himself/herself is struggling in the new world, for your depression. There are several reasons and factors that contribute to postpartum depression.

  • Changes in the body: Those hormones are to be blamed! After all that your body goes through to bring your little bundle of joy into this world, there is a whole play of hormones to bring you back to health. This drastic change in hormones makes a mother feel sad and depressed
  • Emotional changes: After you have a baby, there is a high possibility that your body is in shock, extreme tiredness can pool in, leaving you sluggish and emotionally drained. This causes feelings of irritability, aggression or even despair to make you feel even worse
  • Anxiety: Once you give birth, the real struggle begins. You have to take care of your baby round the clock while you’re still recovering from a near-death experience (as some women call it). This cause a feeling of isolation and loneliness to develop which if left on its own for a long time can lead to depression

depression after delivery

How Does It Affect The Baby?

As a fact we know that a baby’s initial months of development depend on his/her association with their mother as a mother is a first and foremost caretaker and responsible for creating a safe and healthy environment for their child’s well-being. However, in cases of postpartum depression, it is seen that the children show signs of poor emotional and cognitive development. This is because the mother who has the maximum exposure and role in the child’s early development herself is struggling with a health condition that renders her emotionless, sad, unavailable and irritable to the baby.

How To Treat Postpartum Depression?

Like any kind of depression, postpartum depression should never be left untreated or ignored. If you show any of the above signs and symptoms, you should always talk to your doctor about it. Also, postpartum depression, if diagnosed and taken care of on time, can be treated easily through:

  • Talk therapy: Another word for common psychotherapy or counseling, talk therapy can prove beneficial in cases where the symptoms of depression are mild. It can be a one-on-one chat session or even a group discussion with women having similar issues that can be talked out and cured. A therapist can often be your savior if you are having light symptoms of postpartum depression
  • Antidepressants: Targeting the brain chemical balance that regulates your mood, antidepressants come to the rescue of patients with severe symptoms of postpartum depression. Although these medicines are focused on addressing the issue in a faster manner, they can often lead to side effects. Hence, you should always consult your doctor about the benefits and side effects of such anti-depressants. You should usually start feeling better in about 2-3 weeks depending on how the medicine is affecting
  • Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT): This method is used for women who show no signs of improvement even after talk therapy or antidepressant medicines. In ECT, a patient under anesthesia is exposed to short electrical current in the brain that causes the brain to relieve of depressions signs

All said and done, there is one thing you should never ignore and that is your body. Always observe what your body is trying to tell you. Any sudden changes in bodily functions; be it physical or mental, should be discussed with a doctor especially when you are a new mom. It’s because a healthy mother can help raise a healthy baby in the environment they deserve. Take care all you mommies!

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