All Reasons and Symptoms of Postpartum Depression
All things considered having a baby can be stressful and a good percentage of new mothers are anxious and feel overwhelmed immediately after birth. While baby blues are normal anxiety and other unpleasant symptoms become a source of concern when they do not resolve themselves after two weeks or so after bringing the new bundle of joy home. This now becomes postpartum depression that may come with mild to severe symptoms that may last up to one year after delivery. Below we discuss all reasons and symptoms of postpartum depression and also give tips and tricks on how this condition can be dealt with or avoided altogether.
Symptoms of Postpartum Depression
To understand what postpartum depression really mean you need to know the different symptoms of this condition. Symptoms of postpartum depression may include;
- Excessive crying for no apparent reason
- Irritability and intense anger towards those around you
- Withdrawing from other members of the family and your friends
- Mood swings
- Loss of appetite and consequently loss of weight
- Excessive eating
- Insomnia or excessive sleeping
- Fatigue and loss of energy
- Lack of interest in the baby making bonding difficult
- Recurrent thoughts of hurting the baby, death and suicide
- Feelings of guilt, inadequacy and worthlessness
- Extreme anxiety that may lead to panic attacks
Going by the above symptoms it would be safe to say that postpartum depression involves a wide range of symptoms and emotions that may eventually interfere with the mother ability to take care of the new baby and also take care of herself.
Most women with postpartum depression do not experience the above symptoms all at once. Initially this will feel more like baby blues but the symptoms will persist and become severe over time. For some women mild symptoms start immediately after birth and get more serious with time. For other women symptoms may appear several months after giving birth.
Reasons and Causes of Postpartum Depression
There are various causes that have been found to trigger postpartum depression. These causes include;
Every woman experiences drastic hormonal changes after birth. Progesterone, estrogen and thyroid levels fall drastically and this drastic fall in hormones has different effects in the body such that may trigger postpartum depression.
Taking care of a new baby can be depressing especially if a new mother does not have a proper support system at home. For mothers who have not had previous experience in taking care of a new born feelings of inadequacy and anxiety may lead to stress which may trigger postpartum depression. Babies also come with sleepless nights and this means that a new mother may be sleep deprived, tired and often stressed. Other stress triggers such as having a sick child, losing your job and pregnancy complications can also trigger this condition.
Pregnancy and birth come with numerous physical changes such as rapid weight gain. A woman who may be having a hard time shedding this weight after delivery may suffer from postpartum depression. It does not help that for some women having postpartum depression makes them eat excessively and this may make the condition even worse. This and Physical pain that most women experience after birth may also trigger this postpartum depression.
The above factors just act as triggers since some women who encounter all the above factors do not suffers from the above condition while others do. Generally the exact reason why this happens to some women while others escape is not known. However, the following situations have been known to increase the likelihood of a mother developing postpartum depression.
- History of depression
- Relationship problems
- An unwanted pregnancy
- Lack of proper support system
- Financial difficulties
- Stressful events such as a difficult pregnancy or failing baby’s health
Postpartum Depression Coping Tips
While this condition comes with many unpleasant effects on the mother and also affects the baby negatively, the good news is that it is manageable and does not have to get severe and affect the baby and mother for an extended period of time.
For women with postpartum depression the first step to healing is accepting that they have the condition. The next course of action after acceptance should be seeking help from a doctor and others who have gone down this road before.
If you suspect that you may be suffering from this condition here are some tips that may help you cope even as you seek professional help.
- Get help from friends and relatives when it comes to running your daily errands and taking care of the baby. Use those short breaks in between taking care of the baby to get some rest and sleep especially if your baby is keeping you awake for a good portion of the night.
- Track your thoughts and emotions daily and do everything possible to only think happy thoughts and keep your emotion on check.
- Remember that a new baby is stressful to everyone, even those who have had babies before. You should therefore not feel inadequate for feeling overwhelmed and not excited by the arrival of the newest family member.
- Take about 10 minutes or so every day and do something you find absolutely relaxing and enjoyable
- Reach out to friends and relatives and let them help you get through those difficult days. Talk to them and cry if you have to as long as you will feel much better afterwards.
Postpartum depression is a condition that affects many new mom and if you look at all reasons and symptoms of postpartum depression it will become apparent that there is nothing to be ashamed of. If you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above seek professional help and talk about your feelings to those who care about you. Above all take things easy and take comfort in that this too will come to pass and you can look forward to many happy days with your baby and the rest of the family. For those with loved ones who are suffering from this condition the best you can offer is support and encourage your loved ones to seek medical attention immediately instead of waiting and hoping that the symptoms will go away over time.