When a baby is born, a mother is born too. And it is this new role that tends to get so overwhelming that it might have some serious repercussions. When seeing that smiling little mirror image of yourself doesn’t make you very happy, or when holding those tiny little baby fingers either make you feel sad or guilty you should know something is wrong. When happiness is the only emotion expected out of you, and instead you feel sad, rage, annoyance or guilt, and then maybe Postpartum Depression (PPD) is the cause.
An initial sense of feeling overwhelmed clouds your thoughts, because it’s your life that has totally changed as you have given birth to another life. It is obvious that you take some time to let the new feeling sink into you, and then delve deep into all the nitty-gritties of the baby work which is also accompanied by sleeplessness. So this sudden change in life, especially for first-time moms, can be overwhelming and it might lead to mood swings, anxiety and an irritable nature. These could be sheer ‘baby blues’ which are very common and they wither away with time, as you get accustomed to your new role.
But when these feelings linger on for more than a couple of weeks and you find it difficult to execute your day to day chores, even your baby related work; then it’s time to ring the alarm bell. Then it could be PPD. The symptoms include a feeling of guilt, anger, sadness without any specific reason, inability to connect with the baby, a feeling of regret that you are not the perfect mom for the baby, extreme exhaustion and the like.
The sudden change in hormones after childbirth often wreaks havoc on your system and leads to PPD. During pregnancy your hormones are at a peak and after delivery it drops suddenly, so in some cases this sudden drop has an impact. Certain circumstances like unplanned pregnancy, poor support from partner, family and friends or complications during delivery often increase the chances of PPD. Doctors are of the opinion that new mothers and their family should be aware of the signs and symptoms of PPD so that they can identify them at the earliest and seek medical attention. In fact even during the sixth week postpartum obstetrician and gynecology visit, healthcare providers often check on the symptoms of PPD.
Though PPD can happen anytime within the first year after childbirth, it is most commonly seen after three weeks of childbirth. It is said that one in seven women might be affected by PPD after childbirth, so there is no harm in speaking about it. It is not rare, rather it is common and can happen to anyone of any age group be it a first time mom or not. Treatment mechanisms for PPD are simple and often include counseling and medications like antidepressants, which have to be taken in consultation with the doctor if you are breastfeeding. But the good part about PPD is, it is totally treatable and most women overcome it either with time or with the help of a good support system and medical intervention.
Some of the symptoms of PPD include: