The hidden disease that no one talks about: postpartum depression
Whether you are giving birth to your first or third baby, caring for a new baby can be difficult. You are likely feeling sleep deprived, your home is likely a mess, and you probably love nothing more than a day (or week) of total relaxation. If you’ve had a new baby, you are also likely going through a whole host of emotions caused by the changes in your hormones. This mixture of feelings and everything else you tamper with can be a recipe for excessive stress, fatigue, and even postpartum depression. In fact, according to a new study, 1 in 7 women may develop postpartum depression in the first year of their baby’s life.
Before deciding to have children, many women research the unattractive side effects of pregnancy, such as morning sickness, aches, pains, and nausea, so that they know what to expect and prepare for. However, what people do not usually prepare for is postpartum depression. Since we do not explicitly and generally discuss the mental health struggles of new mothers, this can cause them to feel isolated and broken if they develop postpartum or postpartum depression.
Fortunately, there are some signs of the condition that you, your family, and your partner can look for. Understanding it can help you or your loved one get the help you need when you need it.
What is Post delivery depression? How do I know I have it?
When new mothers give birth, their bodies are consumed with a lot of different emotions, due to the influx of hormones. Many new mothers experience “baby blues” that consist of mood swings, crying spells, anxiety, and insomnia. These feelings usually appear within two days of the baby’s birth and can last up to two weeks. When the baby blues last longer and have more severe side effects, postpartum depression may be the case. This mental health disorder is not your or your family member’s fault. It is just a risk factor for childbirth. In some cases, signs and symptoms can appear during pregnancy and last for up to a year after birth.
Signs and symptoms of postpartum depression
- Excessive crying
- Mood Swings
- Withdrawing from friends and family
- Difficulty bonding with your child
- Fatigue and decreased energy
- Loss of appetite or eating more than usual
- Loss of interest in activities that previously brought you happiness
- Irritability and anger
- The feeling of hopelessness, worthlessness, guilt, or shame
- Anxiety and/or panic attacks
- Feeling that you are not a good mother
- Thoughts of death or suicide
It doesn’t matter why your sister has postpartum depression and why you (or your wife) are not interested, and vice versa. It can often be difficult to pinpoint a single cause of this mental health condition. However, there are some physical and emotional concerns that can play a role. For example, after childbirth, there is a significant decrease in hormones. This dip can leave you feeling tired, sluggish, and depressed. In addition, you will likely be extremely tired and tired and have a hard time dealing with small problems.
There are also many risk factors that can contribute to the development of postpartum depression. Some examples include:
- Breastfeeding problems
- Problems with your partner
- financial problems
- A weak support system,
- A history of postpartum depression
- High tension
- Your child has health problems or special needs
- You have had twins or triplets
- You gave your child for adoption
The most important thing in these situations is looking for a trust support system, whether it’s your partner, family members, friends, co-workers, or a therapist.
How can you help someone who may have postpartum depression?
When new babies are brought into the world it can be exciting for everyone in a mother’s life. Friends and family members are often very excited to meet the little one. While there is nothing wrong with this, it can cause a mother’s struggle to be overlooked. There are some things you can do to help your mother with your life, whether or not you suspect that she may have postpartum depression. A little extra help can help pull her out of mental trouble without realizing she was into it.
1. Quality time
The new mom will likely be home alone while her partner returns to work. This can make her feel very isolated above the stress she is already experiencing. One way to help is by offering to come and visit, on their terms, to spend some quality time together. Ask her about her day, talk about what’s going on, and most importantly, don’t treat her any differently than you did before.
2. Ask her specific questions
Instead of saying, “Tell me if I can help with anything,” try asking her, “Do you want me to wash you a lot of laundries while you rest?” She may not want you to feel that you have to help her so that she does not accept your offer. However, by asking a more specific question, you’ll feel more comfortable saying yes. Plus, it takes the pressure off her to decide what to do. Here are some other ways you can seek help:
- What do you want for lunch/dinner today? I will cook.
- Want me to take your pet for an afternoon walk while you rest?
- I will help you take care of your dishes. Is this okay with you?
- Let me change your sheets for you while breastfeeding. This way you will have a new bed for this evening.
- What are some of the items you need from the grocery store? I can make a list and pick it up for you on my way.
3. Spend time with her other children
If the new mom in your life has older children, offer to spend quality time with them. Taking them out of the house, even for an hour, gives the mother some time to relax with the newborn. You can take other kids to the park, go out to paint pottery, watch a movie, visit the store for a new toy (preferably quiet), or even play together in their room at home.
4. Offer to stay with the baby so that mom can spend some time alone
Text her, call her, or tell her the next time you visit that any time she needs some time to pamper herself, you can watch the baby. For new parents, this can give you quiet time with your little one that you’ve been looking forward to all day. During this time, new moms can take a shower or bath, take a good nap, or even go out and get their nails done. Whatever self-care a mother needs, you are helping her immensely by taking care of her little one in the meantime.
5. Validate what you are doing well
Nothing can be more aloof than feeling like what you are doing is failing or going unnoticed. Maybe mom is balancing her family’s meals, observing the baby, cleaning, and taking care of herself all at the same time. Admit when you do something great and offer her words of encouragement. Try: “Baby seems to be growing very fast! You should feed them well.” “I know how hard it can be to reconcile everything in life when you are stressed. I can’t believe how to handle all of this so well.” “You look amazing! Have you gone styling your hair?” “You keep up with the housework better than I do, and I don’t even have a new baby!”
How to combat postpartum depression if you are struggling with yourself
If you suffer from postpartum depression, know that there is nothing “wrong” with you and that you are still an amazing mom. There are some great ways to combat and manage this depression on a daily basis:
- Exercise when you can. Your doctor will tell you which physical activity is best for you, so only be careful when exercising. Start by walking around the neighborhood or the local park.
- Eat healthy food and plenty of enough to provide you with energy throughout the day.
- Take some alone time and seek help when you need it.
- Make time to hang out with friends or family to avoid feelings of isolation.
- Nap and rest when you can.
While the tips above can help you manage your difficult emotions, postpartum depression often requires professional treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms of postpartum depression, please consider talking to a counselor. They have the experience, the background, and the knowledge to help you deal with, manage, and overcome postpartum depression.