A Simple Guide for New Moms to Understand Postpartum Depression
When a woman conceives, her main aim in life becomes to be a good mom. After you give birth, the only thing that stops you from doing your best is Postpartum Depression.
Postpartum depression or PPD is something no one talks about, but statistics show about 80% of women suffer from it. It is natural for a woman to face sudden changes after giving birth, and many times these are normal baby blues. Understanding the difference is not easy, and often postpartum depression is mistaken for baby blues. Though confusing, understanding this is of paramount importance for the new mom and the family.
How are Baby Blues and Postpartum Depression Different?
When a mother gives birth, she has many feelings, and these are called ‘baby blues’. The lack of sleep, hormonal changes, the trauma of childbirth, and other factors combined make a new mom overwhelmed, and this is natural and understandable.
Feeling baby blues, as I said, is normal, but the issue is that most times, the symptoms are confused with those of postpartum depression. PPD can get dangerous if it goes out of control, and thus, it is essential to understand and handle it in time.
Symptoms of Postpartum Depression Different from Baby Blues
Sleep deprivation is normal with the feeding and sleeping schedule of a newborn. But if you have help or are not sleeping when you get the time, it can be a cause of worry.
If you are sleep deprived, you will try to sleep as and when you get the time and the opportunity. For those, who do not sleep even when they can, they should track their sleep and keep a check.
Many people think they are not feeling depressed, and thus, PPD is something they do not need to worry about. The fact is a mom suffering from it cannot feel anything.
When a baby is born, it is overwhelming for a mom, but the feeling of being lonely or hopeless is a warning sign. When you start feeling like a bad mother, you must stop and think about what you are feeling and why you are feeling that.
I remember when I could not breastfeed the baby, I would sit and keep crying, and I lost my time with my baby. Thankfully, I did not let the feeling of being hopeless take over me, and I managed my feelings.
When you cannot handle it, the depression sets in, and this becomes a challenge to fight.
When you bring a baby home, it is natural to be protective and keep visitors away. Also, this is the time parents like to bond with the baby. At this time, if you are unsocial, it is normal. But if this stage continues, and you do not feel like meeting anyone, it is a sign to worry about.
If you are scared to move out and do not meet people, then this is not the fear of a new mom but something more worrisome.
Changes in Food Habits
Once the baby comes, the hormones start settling in, a mother feels hungry and eats everything she would pre-pregnancy. Now, if you do not feel like eating your favorite food or feel an aversion to food, it is a sign of postpartum depression.
The opposite, i.e. overeating also happens for many. If you are feeling different and see a profound change in your eating habits, it is time to take a check and talk about it so that you can manage the feelings before it goes out of hands.
Get Angry Quickly
Anger is not a symptom of baby blues. If you are facing PPD, then the feeling of hating yourself is normal. When this feeling comes out as anger towards others around you, the bell should ring.
Rage and anger, which can alienate you from people around you, can be dangerous as this can lead to harming yourself, and with a child around, it is a feeling you do not want.
3 Months Gone and Still the Same
The first three months of a baby are overwhelming for a mom, and she feels a myriad of emotions. Usually, after three months, most new moms start feeling normal. If you feel you are feeling the same, it is advisable to take help.
This now should not be baby blues, but a more serious issue that should be addressed as denial would not lead to anything.
Other Symptoms of Postpartum Depression
The above are symptoms of postpartum depression, which differentiate it from baby blues. However, there are some other symptoms as well, which should be noticed and are warning signs:
- Being restless
- Mood swings
- Inability to bond with the baby
- Anxiety and fear of being a bad mother
- Loss of concentration and focus
- Thoughts of harming the baby or self
- Anxiety and panic attacks
Causes of Postpartum Depression
1 out of 7 mothers are known to face PPD, but many stay in denial or are scared to talk about it. Understanding the causes helps and gives the confidence to address and talk about the issue. Let us talk about the common causes of postpartum depression:
Loss of Confidence Because of Physical Changes
A new mom more than often does not look like the way she looked pre-pregnancy. It is normal to put on weight and have loose skin and, of course, dark circles under the eyes due to sleep deprivation. The worry and stress to look like this causes a loss of self-confidence and leads to a worthless feeling.
Lack of sleep takes a toll on new parents and more on a breastfeeding mom as she cannot sleep and get the rest her body needs, the feeling of being cranky and depression set in, which, if not handled adequately, leads to bigger issues.
Changes in Hormones
Pregnancy and post-pregnancy, the body of a woman undergo massive hormonal changes. The immunity of the body reduces because of a drop in hormones like the thyroid, and this makes a woman more prone to fatigue and anxiety.
Diagnose Before It Is Too Late
Postpartum depression is like this elephant in the room no one likes to talk about. Some women feel these signs during pregnancy and some later. An understanding of what you can feel, why you can feel like this, and when it is a warning sign is essential for all women expecting a child.
If you see any of the symptoms and are feeling depressed, talk about it to someone, you trust or seek professional help. Do not be shy to talk about it because your mental health is as important as your physical health, and no one in this world can take care of your baby as you can.
So for yourself and for the little bundle of joy, take care of yourself and listen to your mind and body. Remember, a happy mummy will have a happy and healthy baby. Just remember,
“Your kids don’t want a perfect mom. They just want a happy one. “