How to overcome postpartum depression?
Postpartum depression is a phenomenon that affects many young mothers when their child arrives. In this article, you will find out everything you need to know about this disorder, to help your loved ones or to overcome postpartum depression yourself.
Definition of postpartum depression
Postpartum depression is characterized by depression after childbirth. It is estimated that it affects about 10 to 20% of women after the birth of their baby. Fathers can also be affected by this type of depression, although it is more common in women. It can occur up to 1 year after the birth of the newborn. But, the number of post-natal depression is higher during the 3 months after the birth. It is a condition that requires treatment.
What are the symptoms of postpartum depression?
The symptoms can be confused at first with severe fatigue. It has several symptoms:
- A very great sadness without reason;
- Exhaustion and sleep disorders;
- Increased sensitivity with unexplained crying;
- Excessive guilt or low self-esteem;
- Anxiety and anguish (often concern for the well-being of the child, etc.);
- Lack of pleasure in caring for their child;
- Lack of interest in activities previously enjoyed;
- Changes in eating habits;
- Suicidal thoughts.
Some young mothers (or fathers) are unaware of these symptoms or hide them. Finally, some don't dare talk about it for fear of what their loved ones will think.
How can you tell the difference between depression and other post-partum mental disorders?
Postpartum depression is not the only disorder that you may face following childbirth.
Baby blues are a normal phenomenon that many mothers experience following childbirth. It occurs in the first week after giving birth, a few days after the birth. The symptoms of baby blues are irritability, anxiety, sensitivity, bad moods and generally high emotionality.
Unlike postpartum depression, it lasts only a few days. The cause is also quite different. Indeed, it is the drop in hormones following childbirth that will create these wobbly emotions and therefore a baby-blues. If these symptoms last longer than two weeks, it may be postpartum depression. Consult your health care professional. It is very important to be accompanied.
It is estimated that one in 1000 women experience puerperal psychosis. But what is puerperal psychosis? It is a serious psychiatric pathology that manifests itself most of the time a few days after the delivery, even if it can be present from the beginning of the pregnancy. It is the most severe form of postpartum depression. The onset of psychological symptoms of this condition occurs in three stages:
- The first is the phase of extreme fatigue;
- The second phase is the confusion phase;
- The third phase: the delirium phase.
It is very common during the fatigue phase to confuse this fatigue with the very common baby blues.
The risks of puerperal psychosis are more or less serious, but in the worst cases it can lead to suicide or infanticide.
What are the potential causes of postpartum depression?
The arrival of a baby is an upheaval for parents and young mothers. The upheaval of daily life and habits is the first cause of postpartum depression. But physiological causes such as hormonal changes and exhaustion can also cause it. Finally, the feelings that the mother may have, such as being overwhelmed, lost , etc., can cause postpartum depression.
For some women, becoming a mother can lead to a reorganization of their identity (especially in the case of a first pregnancy) because they have to take on a new role: that of mother. Let's remember that motherhood (contrary to what many would have us believe) is not something innate, motherhood is learned and each (new) mother experiences it differently.
Some women who are already prone to certain psychological disorders, such as depression, mental illness or anxiety , are more prone to developing postpartum depression.
What are the consequences of postpartum depression on her family?
Postpartum depression has a variety of consequences.
With her child
According to an English study conducted by the University of Kent, postpartum depression has a negative impact on the mother-child relationship. In fact, the study concluded that women who have suffered from postpartum depression have a poorer relationship with their children.
In the most severe cases of puerperal psychosis, there can be consequences on the mother-child relationship. They may behave dangerously toward their child or deny the bond between themselves and their child.
In the couple's life
The arrival of a newborn can be a time of upheaval for couples. So when postpartum depression is added, it can be even more complicated. If you think you're suffering from it, talk about it, communicate with your partner and get help from a health professional.
In general, it can have an impact on family life. A complicated relationship can be a risk factor.
What are the treatments for postpartum depression?
It is often expected that women will feel a wave of happiness when their baby arrives. However, this does not always happen. Often, some women don't dare to talk about their feelings and their discomfort. It is very important to talk if you are experiencing psychological difficulties during your postpartum period, if you feel lost or unhappy. There is no shame in this.
Talk to your primary care physician so that he or she can talk to you about all the options that may be available to you.
- Psychological therapy;
- Taking antidepressants if a diagnosis of depression is made.
Our advice to prevent postpartum depression!
Fortunately, suffering from this pathology is not a fatality. There are ways to prevent it for future mothers.
Get some rest
Fatigue is a factor that increases the risk of developing postpartum depression. So to avoid it, rest is essential.
Adopt a healthy lifestyle
In addition to good sleep, it is recommended that you adopt a healthy lifestyle, i.e. a good diet and gentle physical activity if you can.
In any case, if you have a history of mental illness or depression before becoming pregnant, it is best to talk to your doctor. This will make it easier to monitor you during and after your pregnancy.
What about postpartum depression in fathers?
Fathers can get it too. But, the symptoms are not as visible as those of women. Fathers tend to show their distress through irritation, anger, anxiety, and the use of substances such as alcohol or drugs. It affects about 8% of fathers.
Postpartum Depression FAQ
When does postpartum depression begin?
It can occur at any time during the first year after giving birth. It can happen in the next few days, but also much later. It is different from baby blues which will last for a maximum of 1 or 2 weeks.
What is the average duration of postpartum depression?
It is estimated that postpartum depression can last up to 3 years after the first symptoms. Of course, each woman is different: some will have a depression that will last much less time. The important thing is to talk about it and to seek help.
Why do couples separate after a birth?
The arrival of a newborn baby is an upheaval in the parents' personal lives. Naturally, it can disrupt a couple's balance, as both people have to take on a parenting role that they didn't know before. Of course, this is not the case for all couples. You can consult professionals on the subject if you are having difficulties.
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