Having baby blues is common for new mothers, considering the sleepless nights and stressful days in upbringing your baby but any symptoms that stay for long is a cause of concern. Could you be dealing with postpartum depression?
If you have just had a baby and are upset thinking that being a mom is not a bliss, then maybe you have a serious problem at hand. Is the exhaustion, weariness and depression is not letting you cope with the demands of a newborn baby?
Baby blues are fairly common, so if you are feeling cranky, mildly depressed, weary and find it difficult to fall asleep, there is no need to worry. Most of the new mothers have baby blues, which are due to tiredness, hormonal changes and adjusting to a new lifestyle change which revolves around your little one. Once you adjust to the changes and get adequate rest, you will definitely feel better.
But the real problem arises when new moms don’t know how to differentiate between baby blues and postpartum depression. In the initial stages, postpartum depression will look just like baby blues. And your mom is going to tell you that you are just tired and needn’t worry about how you feel. The fact is that many symptoms are common to the two conditions – crying episodes, irritability, insomnia and mood swings being a few. But in postpartum depression, these symptoms can take an ugly turn and are longer lasting as well. Let us find out how to distinguish postpartum depression from simple baby blues.
6 Symptoms and Signs that you are dealing with Postpartum Depression:
- You’ll find that you lack interest in the baby and harbor negative feelings towards the child.
- You won’t worry about hurting the baby, simply because taking care of it makes you feel so miserable.
- You’ll find that you have lost interest in the most pleasurable activities and have low energy or motivation.
- The feelings you harbor towards the child will make you feel guilty and worthless, further adding to your stress.
- Sudden changes in appetite and weight.
- You will have suicidal thoughts.
If you are feeling any of the above mentioned symptoms, chances are that you are dealing with postpartum depression. While in some cases postpartum depressions sets in quickly after having a baby and grows more severe over the next few months and sometimes it comes suddenly several months after having the baby.
Are there any risks involved with Postpartum Depression?
Scientists haven’t been able to understand what brings about postpartum depression. But knowing the risk factors and understanding the causes can take you one step further to curing the disease.
5 Risk Factors For Postpartum Depression
- Family history of depression
- History of premenstrual dysphoric disorder
- Complications during pregnancy or delivery
- Lack of support and help from family
- Difficulty in other relationships
You could be suffering from postpartum depression if you exhibit one or more of the following symptoms:
Unwanted physical changes
Having a baby makes you deal with many physical and emotional changes. If you are still in physical pain from having the baby or are facing emotional rage over the way your body has doubled in size, you could be more prone to postpartum depression.
Most women suffer from hormonal changes after having the baby. While some face a drop in estrogen levels while others face a drop in thyroid levels as well. Rapidly changing hormonal levels can trigger an episode of postpartum depression.
Caring for a newborn comes with a lot of stress. And some women just cannot cope with the exhaustion and need to adjust for the well-being of the baby.
What do studies reveal about Postpartum Depression?
A few studies have indicated that a mother suffering from postpartum depression interacts lesser with her baby. Most of these women don’t want to play with the baby or even breastfeed. Some researchers also believe that postpartum depression in a mother can lead to behavioral issues in the child like sleeping disorders and inadequate development. A study done by American Psychological association, which was published in May 1991 in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology revealed mothers who suffer from postpartum depression are at an increased risk for subsequent depression and don’t adjust well to their children. The study investigated new mothers and their children over a period of four and a half years, stated that postpartum depression in mothers increased the risk of behavioral problems in the children as well.
With so much at stake, it is necessary to get help as soon as you can if you feel you are suffering from postpartum depression.
6 Tips for dealing with Postpartum Depression
If you are dealing with postpartum depression, your first step should be to take care of yourself. The next step should be seeking professional help that can find the underlying cause of your problem and then treating it adequately. However, a few lifestyle changes can be very helpful when dealing with postpartum depression.
- Don’t sacrifice on your sleep – Get eight hours of sleep, even if that means you hire a full-time nanny and need to get the father of the child more involved.
- Take out time for yourself – In order to feel happy, take out time for yourself and relax. Being a new mom is stressful, so try some De-stressing activities.
- Eat well – Most new moms rarely get enough food. And postpartum depression brings with it, appetite changes. Make sure you make your meals a priority because what you eat has a huge impact on your mood as well as breast milk.
- Exercise – Most new moms have poor body image because of all the extra weight they gain. Start exercising, not only will you get back in shape but exercising releases endorphin that alleviates your mood.
- Talk about your feelings – Get your husband to be supportive about how you are feeling. Don’t isolate yourself; get out there and talk to friends and family. Seek help from a professional therapist, if you feel you want to talk to someone who can guide you in the right direction.
- Find a house help – Since you are yourself dealing with postpartum depression, it is necessary that you find a reliable house help so that you can relieve yourself from some of your duties. No one expects you to be a supermom, so don’t exert too much. Remember, the sooner you get back on your feet, the sooner you can start to build a meaningful relationship with your baby. But for now, you must make yourself the priority.
With the right support and guidance, you will be able to handle postpartum depression symptoms within no time. But if you feel you just aren’t getting any better, seek medical help to get back on the track and enjoy motherhood.
Make your motherhood journey, memorable and beautiful!