Postpartum Depression IS Real
Postpartum depression could start at childbirth or soon after (within a week or month). A whopping 85% of all women who’ve just had a baby, experience changes in their moods. All the hormonal fluctuations and chemical changes, not to mention the overwhelming experience you’ve just gone through physically is bound to take its toll. But what’s less spoken of is the deeper symptoms of anxiety and depression about 10 to 15% of women go through.
Baby Blues Fade, Postpartum Depression Won’t Go Away on Its Own
A case of the baby blues can also mimic symptoms of postpartum depression, causing you to feel unhappy, fatigued, and worried. The new responsibilities and physical strain can cause this in most women. But the symptoms tend to be milder and fade away in a few weeks. With postpartum depression, anxiety and sadness are deep and constant. It can lead to social withdrawal, anger, physical aches and pains and more.
It Could Affect The Health Of Both You and Your Baby
Don’t dismiss the feelings you have as being just tiredness. Like any other disorder or health issue, it needs medical attention. Ignoring it might lead you to give your baby – and yourself – less attention than needed, leading to mental and physical health issues. You may even experience a desire to harm yourself or your baby.
Babies of mothers battling depression are more likely to have stunted growth. It can cause behavioral problems for the infant and result in more agitation and crying. As a toddler/school-age child, there may be issues with coping with stress and adjusting to social situations.
It Needs Treatment Like Any Medical Condition
Postpartum depression is a condition that needs treatment too. If you had any other complications from childbirth, you wouldn’t hesitate to get the medical attention needed to treat it. There are many treatment options that you could consider , just take the first step to talk to someone about it so you feel less alone.
Untreated Postpartum Depression Can Last Years!
Yes, this kind of depression can last for months or even years. So do not put off getting help. Don’t put yourself or your baby through years of agony.
Some Women May Be More At Risk
There are some factors that could put you more at risk of developing postpartum depression than others. Remember, these are not things you can control:
- History of depression or bipolar disorder.
- Symptoms of depression during a previous pregnancy.
- A close family member who has depression/mental illness.
- Stressful life event during pregnancy/just after childbirth, like the death of a loved one, a divorce, or job loss.
- Medical complications during childbirth.
- Drug/alcohol abuse issues.
- Lack of a strong emotional support system around you.
It Isn’t Your Fault
The mixed emotions of your symptoms from depression can make even day-to-day functioning difficult. Add to that the guilt you feel from not being able to look after your baby or not meeting people’s expectations, and it can feel a million times worse than it is.
Just remember, this isn’t your fault. A combination of emotional and physical factors triggered the issue. You just drew the short straw. There isn’t something you could have done or not done to avoid it.
Do not delay contacting your gynaecologist and meet a mental health specialist who handles postpartum depression cases. You’ll feel better just knowing you’re in the right hands.
The MamaXpert community is a great place to connect with other women who’ve been in your position and have overcome postpartum depression against all odds. Find more resources and tips on overcoming postpartum depression and information from healthcare experts.
Focus on getting better so you can start your journey into motherhood afresh, focus on you.