Pregnancy is truly an incredible journey which every woman would love to experience. It seems to be a miracle to produce a new life just from a single cell and nourish it until it develops within your body. The physical changes you go through during pregnancy are really amazing; also you have that pride and special glow on your face of carrying a brand new life. As a woman there are many psychological modifications you undergo including cardiovascular changes, respiratory changes, and metabolic changes which are completely normal. Also, the hormonal alterations like rapid increase in estrogen level, fluid retention, exercise injuries etc are frequent during various stages of pregnancy. But after delivery, the mother’s body returns to its pre-pregnancy state within a period of six weeks.
What Causes Postpartum Depression?
Prenatal depression is the type of depression which affects a woman during her pregnancy and can lead to postpartum depression. But it’s not always the case that prenatal depression is precursor to postpartum depression as they both can occur separately. During postpartum period, there may be many hormonal, environmental, emotional, and genetic factors which you experience and are beyond your control. These changes may trigger depression in women who are more sensitive towards estrogen and progesterone changes. The emotional adjustment of becoming a parent, physical exhaustion and deprivation in sleep are some of the other factors which can lead to depression.
If you have depression after you give birth, you must refer to a counsellor for suggestion or to a psychiatrist for treatment. Whether you’re diagnosed with depression before, during, or after pregnancy, getting treatment is important.
Postpartum Depression or PPD is the state in which you feel extreme sadness or anguish during new parenthood and it becomes difficult for you to concentrate on your daily tasks. PPD is different from normal stress, as in this condition you become excessively stressed and stop caring for yourself and your loved ones. According to American Psychiatric Association, PPD can begin within weeks after pregnancy or even during the stage of pregnancy and can affect both the sexes. Around 0.5% to 61% of women undergo postpartum depression after delivery.
What are the Symptoms of Postpartum Depression?
- Being irritated all the time
- Extreme Sadness or hopelessness
- Eating too much or complete loss of appetite
- Identity crisis
- Inability in making decisions
- Avoiding social contact
- Overpowering guilt
- Worrying excessively about your baby
How is Postpartum Depression Treat?
If you have mild symptoms of postpartum depression, you may be recommended watchful waiting with regular check-ups. In case of severe symptoms, you possibly will be advised to take talk therapy and antidepressant medication. Let’s discuss what these therapies are all about.
(A) Talk Therapy
Talk therapy also called counselling or psychotherapy, can be done with your therapist or in a group setting with other women going through a similar experience through one-o-one conversation technique. Mutual sharing experience in talk therapy helps you to feel relaxed and secured.
They balance the brain chemicals that regulate your mood. There are different types of antidepressants available which make you feel better after three or four weeks of medication. Some of them are even combined for better results. In some cases antidepressants causes side effects but you need not to worry as these determines with time.
(C) Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)
Women who have severe PPD doesn’t respond to talk therapy or antidepressants. A doctor may suggest ECT in such a case. In this treatment, small electrical currents are passed through the brain while the patient is under general anaesthesia. ECT leads to some chemical changes in the brain that relieve depression symptoms and make you feel relieved.
Ways to Come Out of Postpartum Depression or PPD
Avoid Scary Stuff
If you have postpartum depression or PPD, you can easily engross in something disturbing and then suddenly be convinced it relates directly to you. You tend to over think and can get negative thoughts in your mind which you will not be able to get rid of. So, you need to believe in positivity and scare all those negative thoughts out of your mind. You can also avoid indulging in social networking as some people promote explicit contents there which may affect you psychic order.
Take Care of Yourself
You need to take proper care of yourself to avoid postpartum depression. The more you care for your mental and physical well-being, the better you will feel. Try to follow some changes you can take to help yourself being the real you again. You can also start meditation or build a habit of morning walk to feel light and refreshed.
Seek help of Supportive People
You need to avoid people who don’t try to understand your problem or someone who are judgemental and don’t sustain your treatment path. You need to be in contact of supportive people and spend maximum time with them. And even if you don’t find such people among your friends and family, try to form a supportive group comprising women who have gone through similar situation.
Don’t take too much of the workload on yourself. Household chores can wait! Your child must be the only priority at this point of time. Take pleasure in an evening walk with your child in the stroller and ease your mood with the fresh air. Enjoy your maternity leave with caring your child and shower him/her with your love.
Talk to your Partner
A partner is the most important person to support in your moral and physical interests. Make an effort to discuss roles and expectations you seek from him and divide the work according to each other’s comfort levels. Don’t scapegoat your partner for the stress you are going through and tackle parenting challenge like a team as; ‘unity is strength’ is the best proverb applicable in your case.
Create a safe and sound bond with your baby
Due to postpartum depression; you might not be able to create an emotional attachment with your child. The non-verbal poignant bond with the child not only helps him/her in the psychological development but also facilitate your brain to release peptide hormones that relieves stress. This process of forming an emotional bond with your child, which enhances a secure union, is referred as an “attachment’.