The birth of a baby can trigger a jumble of powerful emotions, from excitement and joy to fear and anxiety. But it can also result in something you might not expect - depression. Many new moms experience the "baby blues" after childbirth, which commonly include mood swings and crying spells that fade quickly. But some new moms experience a more severe, long-lasting form of depression known as postpartum depression. Postpartum depression (PPD) is temporary depression related to pregnancy and childbirth.
It comes in two forms: early onset, commonly referred to as the "baby blues," and late onset. The early onset type is mild and may affect as many as 80% of women after they deliver. It starts after delivery and usually resolves within a couple of weeks without medical treatment. The later onset form is what is referred to as postpartum depression. This more severe form is usually recognized several weeks after delivery. Overall, it affects about 10%-16% of women.
Symptoms of mild PPD include
1. Irritability or hypersensitivity
2. Difficulty concentrating
3. Anxiety and worry
4. Crying or tearfulness
6. Negative feelings such as sadness, hopelessness, helplessness, or guilt
7. Loss of interest in activities you usually enjoy
8. Difficulty sleeping (especially returning to sleep)
9. Fatigue or exhaustion
10. Changes in appetite or eating habits
11.Headaches, stomach-aches, muscle or backache.
These symptoms usually appear within several days of delivery and go away 10 to 12 days after the birth. Postpartum depression isn't a character flaw or a weakness. Sometimes it's simply a complication of giving birth. If you have postpartum depression, prompt treatment can help you manage your symptoms and enjoy your baby.
1. Be good to yourself:- Make sure your own basic needs are met. Try to sleep and eat well, and try not to feel guilty about the way you feel now. Just because you have PPD doesn't mean you are a bad mother or don't love your child. Once you feel better, these feelings will diminish.
2. Don't expect so much of yourself :- Sometimes it is enough just to get out of bed and face the day. Focus on taking good care of yourself. If you can do this each day, you'll be doing well.
3. Ask for support Part of being a good mother is knowing when to ask for help so don't be afraid to ask for it during this difficult time. Help comes in many forms, ranging from friends who cook meals and fold your laundry to therapy. You need support from others so you can get better.
4. Share your feelings:- Tell someone you trust about how you feel. Call a sympathetic friend. Join a mother's group for support, or chat with moms about postpartum depression in the Baby Centre Community. You may be surprised at how many women are experiencing similar feelings. If you have a supportive partner, make sure he knows what's going on and how he can help.
5. Don't neglect your "outside":- Taking care of your physical self can sometimes help you feel better inside. Have your partner or a friend watch your baby so you can take a relaxing shower. Put on makeup if you usually wear it. Go on a shopping trip just for yourself and buy something new for your post-birth wardrobe. Wear your favourite outfit on especially difficult days to give yourself a boost.
6. Get some rest:- The rigours of caring for a new born 24/7 can leave you exhausted. Unfortunately, moms with post-partum clinical conditions often can't sleep when they want to. But it's still important to give yourself rest breaks, even if you just read a magazine or watch TV. Ask a relative or friend to watch your baby for an hour or so each day. If no one's available, consider hiring a postpartum doula or a sitter experienced with new borns.
7. Venture outdoors :- Put your baby in a stroller and take a walk around the block, or meet a friend at a nearby cafe. The fresh air, sunshine, and conversation will do you and your baby a world of good. If even a brief excursion is too much for you right now, then just go outside, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and sit in the sunshine for a few minutes. It will help.
8. Slow down:- Your baby's arrival is a good reason to take it easy. Resist the temptation to do the laundry while your baby sleeps, and let the rest of your chores wait. Have food delivered, or ask your partner to get takeout on the way home. Turn off the ringer on the phone when you're trying to get the baby to sleep or when you're finally sitting down for a much-needed break. If you're on maternity leave, banish all thoughts of the work awaiting you at the office. Don't worry - you'll get back on track soon enough.