One of the major types of depression is post-partum depression. This is often experienced by mothers who had just given birth and it tends to be scary for those who are completely new to motherhood. To be clear with this, post-partum is a normal event. After all, a mother has unconditional love for her child, no matter how stressful the role may be. However, it is something to be looked into if this depression does not go away after a certain period of time.
As much as the baby blues is normal, post-partum can interfere with a mother’s ability to care for her child and this is something that should be addressed as soon as possible.
The common symptoms associated with the baby blues are, but not limited to, mood swings, bouts of sadness, trouble sleeping or insomnia, increased irritability, changes in appetite and problems in concentrating. Often these symptoms become apparent within a few days, sometimes weeks. The reason why there is baby blues is because of the changes in hormone level after birth. This is because the body is still readjusting and stabilizing itself to what it was before conception.
Post-partum depression on the other hand may be similar but it has a few more things attached to it than just mood swings. In fact, it becomes more severe. Depressive episodes would escalate to having negative emotions towards your baby until you develop a lack of interest to it. Suicidal thoughts and feelings of worthlessness can also develop as well as feelings of wanting to hurt your baby. Mothers may also start stop caring about themselves and do not find any joy in anything. In worst case scenarios, it could develop into psychosis and cause infanticide and/or suicide.
In order to avoid this, one should be aware of the risk factors that could elevate this. Risk factors that could trigger post-partum includes a depressive history or severe premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMS), medical complications on either the mother or the baby, relationships and/or lack of support from the family.
So how can mothers fight post-partum depression?
Simple, start by helping yourself by taking care of yourself. Medications may help but the most important thing mothers should remember is to care for themselves.
The best way to do this is to change your lifestyle. Get enough sleep, allow yourself to have some “me” time, never forget to eat a balanced diet, get some sunlight and exercise.
Another way is to enlist the help of family and friends. Remember that you can only do as much alone but things will get better if you are surrounded by a great support group, namely your family and friends.
Finally, don’t keep it in. The reason why some mothers experience post-partum is that they refuse to open up in fear that they will be judged. It is time to change that mentality. Having a proper emotional outlet will not only help you deal with it but it will also help lighten that invisible load that you carry on your shoulders.