Is Postpartum Depression Real???
Everyone feels sad over different things in life, but that sadness generally goes away after some while. Depression is a different condition, that’s quite common in today’s society and here, the sadness tends to last for weeks, months, or even years, sometimes.
This article is not focused on depression per se, but the postpartum depression about which every mom and dad should be aware. What’s it? And, how does it occur? What precautions can you take? Yes, all these are important questions. We shall answer them one by one. Read on to find out!
Depression = Postpartum Depression?
Depression can be often called a mood disorder that causes a consistent feeling of emptiness and sadness. A depressed person loses interest in things he liked before and sometimes these conditions can even lead to unfortunate incidents such as suicidal attempts.
Symptoms of depression
- Long-lasting sadness (emptiness)
- Regular hopelessness
- Feelings of strong guilt and helplessness over tiny matters
- Feelings of restlessness
- Loss of energy
- Difficulty in falling asleep (but sometimes, oversleeping)
- Difficulty in eating (but sometimes, overeating)
- Suicidal attempts
- Physical pains
Postpartum Depression = Baby Blues?
Baby Blues are not something unusual in the society we live in. It’s the condition of sadness and tiredness many women face just after having a baby. Generally, this condition doesn’t last long and it’s likely to get resolved on its own within a very short span of time.
But, is this condition similar to Postpartum Depression? Well, no because postpartum depression tends to become more intense and last longer than Baby Blues usually do.
Generally, the symptoms of postpartum depression are equal to those of depression but may have slight differences. But these symptoms greatly differ from one person to another.
Symptoms of postpartum depression (additional to the general symptoms of depression)
- Feeling disconnected from the baby
- The regular feeling of guilt that she hurts the baby
- Uncontrollable anger
- Feeling as if she is not good enough of a mother (doubting her capability to care for the baby)
- Wanting to cry often
Just as the symptoms, the causes that lead to postpartum depression can differ from one person to another. As per the records, the following experiences increase the risk level of postpartum depression.
Causes of postpartum depression
- Less support from the husband and the family to manage the work of the baby
- Past records of depression
- Being a mom at a very young age (teen moms)
- Unfortunate and stressful life events
- Giving birth to multiples (twins or triplets)
- Preterm labor (This is generally considered giving birth to the baby before the 37 weeks are complete)
- Complications in pregnancy
- Giving birth to a baby that needs medical assistance
If a new mother showcases the above symptoms of postpartum depression, she should immediately look for medical support. Postpartum depression is a treatable condition and through health care providers, a good referral to a mental health professional can be obtained. This is a mental condition that gets better with treatment, so there’s nothing to be worried about!
So, you see… it’s a normal mental health change that the majority of new mothers face or battle against silently. It’s just a matter of diagnosing it correctly and seeking medical treatments. The first step will always be starting therapy with a counselor or psychologist. Then, if it’s recommended by them, a psychiatrist can be contacted for medical prescriptions.
In Sri Lanka, there are some organizations (both private and governmental) that offer psychological help to those in need. Sri Lanka Sumithrayo, Sri Lanka National Association of Counsellors, Institute of Mental Health, and Sri Lanka Foundation Institute are some of them and they offer precise emotional support with 100% confidentiality and anonymity.
Additional note It’s not just the mothers who sometimes go through depression after a baby comes out to the world. Surveys have shown that even fathers go through depression during the first year after a baby’s birth. Young fathers and those who face financial struggles are most likely to face this condition.
If you think this article was useful, please feel free to share this - so that someone who actually goes through this challenging condition sees this and feels that they are not alone!