We will talk about what is postpartum depression, its signs, symptoms, and treatment. It is important to know how it occurs in humans and the main reasons. But there is a solution, and we will tell about the treatment and give good advice.
Postpartum depression is a mental disorder that occurs in women in the postpartum period and is characterized by low mood and the inability to receive positive emotions from life.
This disorder occurs in women only and has its own characteristics. During pregnancy, a radical restructuring of the whole organism occurs the physiology of the organism and the hormonal background of the woman change. Add to this the addiction to the role of the mother, a change in lifestyle, the need to care for a newborn baby and household chores.
Many older people, especially our grandmothers, are somewhat ironic about the diagnosis of postpartum depression. With undisguised pride, they can tell how, in the times of their youth, women gave birth to 3-5 children, worked in a factory and were engaged in housekeeping, without even thinking about the existence of this type of depression. In those days, everything was different: a different ecology and nutrition, a way of life and a particular outlook in women. At present, women adapt worse to change, life is full of stress, and nutrition and the environment have become worse than they were 50 years ago. This may explain such a wide spread of postpartum depression in the modern world.
Public opinion has a great influence on women. Television inspires us with the image of an ideal mother who goes to work within a month after giving birth, while she looks great and finds time not only for family and household chores but also for sports, travel, and hobbies. During pregnancy, a woman thinks that this is exactly what her new life will be after birth.
A woman, who is preparing to become a mother for the first time, makes certain plans for life after the birth of a baby; presents how she will spend her free time, what new hobbies she will find for herself on maternity leave. But in practice, it turns out that childbirth drastically changes life to “before” and “after”. There is no free time left for hobbies or household chores. Caring for a newborn baby takes most of the time of a woman. In practice, this is not the quietly sleeping pink-cheeked baby, who is shown in advertising diapers. As a result, women develop postpartum depression.
Childbirth – great stress for the body and psyche of a woman. In the first few months after giving birth, a woman becomes accustomed to the role of mother and new responsibilities, and often this period is accompanied by anxiety, apathy, and fatigue, lack of sleep, emotional depression and guilt. As a result, a woman develops postnatal depression.
The main causes of postpartum depression
Here are the main reasons for which postpartum depression can occur:
- Difficulties during the last months of pregnancy and difficult childbirth.
- Problems with breastfeeding.
- Health problems of the child.
- Irregular sleep and wakefulness of the baby.
- Family, financial and domestic difficulties.
- Lack of help from her husband and relatives.
- Excessive exercise.
- Difficulties in the period of adaptation to the new life, difficulties in getting used to the role of the mother.
- Neurological disorders and individual characteristics of the woman’s psyche.
The problem is that postpartum depression does not develop in one day. Emotional stress accumulates gradually, so the woman does not realize that her condition has worsened. She reacts very painfully to the comments of relatives and friends, denying the negative changes in her condition.
On the one hand, a woman seeks to conform to the ideal image of the mother, imposed by social stereotypes. On the other hand, a woman is under severe stress and guilt, because she does not manage to be such a mother and wife as she originally expected to be. The woman begins to withdraw into herself, neglects the regime of sleep and rest, in order to achieve the ideal image of the mother. At this point, the circle closes, and every day creates more and more prerequisites for the development of postpartum depression.
How to understand that you have postpartum depression: symptoms
There is no clear time frame in which women usually have this nervous breakdown. According to statistics, the most difficult time for a woman is 3-9 months after giving birth. But in individual cases, depression may occur sooner or later. It depends on what point in time your fatigue reaches its highest point, and the body runs out of resources.
You can distinguish postpartum depression by the following symptoms:
- Fatigue, lethargy, and drowsiness. A woman cannot feel rested even after a long period of rest. Waking up in the morning, she already feels overwhelmed.
- The lack of joy and positive emotions, even when interacting with the baby. Daily cares for the baby transform the life of a woman on a groundhog day. Not pleased with the walk in the fresh air, nor the progress in the development of the child, nor the time spent with him.
- Aggression and irritability towards family members and friends (including the child);
- Another symptom of postpartum depression is pessimism, depression, sad thoughts.
- Drastic mood swings, including sudden onset tantrums, tearfulness without objective reasons.
- Eating disorders (lack of appetite or, conversely, a sudden onset of hunger).
- Insomnia, anxiety before bedtime.
- Loss of interest in hobbies, even to those who enjoyed their whole life.
- Feelings of fear and anxiety (for his life, for the health of the child, for the relationship with her husband, for the future).
- Feeling your weakness and helplessness, the inability to influence your life and keep it under control.
- Emotional burnout in relation to the child.
- Impaired memory and concentration (forgetfulness, everything falls out of the hands, awkward actions).
- Disorders in the body and psychosomatic disorders (headaches, changes in the digestive system).
Postpartum depression should be distinguished from the blues, fatigue and bad mood, which sometimes occur in the life of every person. Symptoms of fatigue appear sporadically and pass by themselves after a few days or weeks. Symptoms of depressive disorder are aggravated over time, last from several months to six months, and then become chronic. In this case, you may need the help of specialists: a psychologist, a neurologist, a therapist.
If you have noticed several signs of postpartum depression, do not let the situation take its course: this neurological disorder progresses with each passing day. Effective ways to deal with postpartum depression will be listed below.
Postpartum Depression Treatment
Only in some cases, a woman can successfully cope with postpartum depression on their own. In most cases, this neurological disorder must be treated under the supervision of a specialist. In order to prescribe the correct and effective therapy, the doctor may prescribe your tests and prescribe medicines, for example, hormonal drugs, vitamin-mineral complexes, and antidepressants. Thus, recovery will go faster, because your goal is to learn again to receive joy from life and receive happiness from motherhood.
The following treatments for postpartum depression have proven to be effective:
- Psychotherapy: This method combines psychological assistance with the effects of drugs (sedatives, antidepressants, antipsychotics). Many women worry that they will have to give up breastfeeding due to medication. Indeed, this is an unpleasant moment, but choosing between breastfeeding and one’s own mental well-being, it would be better to give preference to the second option. After all, your child needs a happy and healthy mother. Modern milk formulas are designed to meet the needs of the baby’s body to the maximum.
- Help relatives and friends, an effective method in the fight against postpartum depression. Feel free to ask for help, it will not make you a bad mother in the eyes of others. Your relatives will be only happy if you take a walk with a stroller for a few hours a day, and at this time you can rest or do what you love. If you have girlfriends who need a side job, you can invite them for a few hours a couple of times a week to tidy up the apartment and cook food for a monetary reward. In extreme cases, you can hire a nanny several times a week.
- In postpartum depression, not only physical assistance is very important, but also moral support. You must have a person to whom you can talk about your condition, fears, and emotions and get support. Meet more with friends, call them to visit. If there are no people in your environment whom you could trust, use the Internet. There are a large number of forums and thematic groups for moms where you can talk and get useful tips. You can also enroll in the club of young mothers – such organizations now operate in each city. There you will find like-minded and new girlfriends.
- Take time for your looks and hobbies. A young mother must do what she enjoys. The best rest is a change of activity. It would be great if you leave your baby and dad several times a week, and sign up for the fitness room. Do not abandon classes, referring to excessive physical stress at home. It is very useful to change the familiar atmosphere and communicate with other women. The ideal option for you will be yoga: they will help not only to keep the body in shape but also to restore composure. Do not forget about the appearance: make a fashionable haircut, go to a manicure. You will be pleased to wake up in the morning and see yourself well-groomed.
- Walking in the fresh air is another method that will help in the fight against postpartum depression. In the warmer months, as much time as you can walk in beautiful places. Children behave in a carriage calmly and often sleep. This means that you will have time to relax, listen to music on your phone, and chat with friends. Hiking improves health and promotes weight loss.
- Close contact with the baby. As a rule, in the hands of the mother, the baby calms down very quickly. If you feel very tired, put aside all things and lie down with the child on the sofa. Download it, sing songs, do children’s gymnastics, play and caress. This way you can relax for a while and strengthen the contact with the child. Interaction with the child will give you joy and tranquility.
- The transition to proper nutrition. Refuse spicy, salty and fatty foods, fast food and convenience foods. Make sure that your diet has enough fresh fruits and vegetables. It is very important to eat foods rich in calcium, magnesium, vitamins A, B, C, E. Eat regularly to avoid hunger. From time to time, indulge yourself with your favorite snacks.
- Fill your life with a positive and learn to enjoy the little things. Throw away negative thoughts, although at first, it will be difficult to achieve this, but this way you can overcome postpartum depression.
- Learn effective relaxation techniques. In psychology, there are techniques that help relax and restore peace of mind. You can take special yoga asana, meditate, listen to calm music, and learn special breathing exercises. Some women can relax with a bath with foam and fragrant oils.
The period of postpartum depression is a difficult test for a woman who recently became a mother. Try to do everything in your power to see the symptoms and overcome this condition. If necessary, be sure to consult a doctor. Postpartum depression will not pass for you without a trace: after recovery, you will realize that you have become stronger, wiser and more experienced; notice a change in character and outlook for the better.