Who knows what the future holds? -- especially when you’re expecting a child. Giving birth to your own child will spring up many emotions of love, compassion, and care. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon to also be triggered with negative powerful emotions such as anger, fear and anxiety.
What is Postpartum Depression?
Postpartum depression is something that moms may encounter after having a baby. It doesn't relate to your personality or serve to be a character weakness. It is simply a complication that many women face after giving birth.
It can start from anytime after birth, even a few months ahead, but it is most common within the first month after childbirth. Rarely, women can also develop postpartum psychosis, an extreme mood disorder.
Types of Postpartum Depression
Baby Blues: This is a form of postpartum depression that is usually developed almost immediately after childbirth. It is very common among women. Symptoms would include having sudden mood swings, feeling unhappy or anxious, being impatient or irritable, and feeling lonely or sad.
Baby blues only lasts for a short duration of up to 2 weeks after giving birth to a child. Most of the time, treatment is not necessary, however contacting a healthcare professional would definitely be helpful for moms experiencing this form of postpartum depression.
Postpartum Depression: This can occur almost immediately after birth or even months after. It’s something that can develop for subsequent children even if it’s not your first time giving birth. This form has similar symptoms as Baby blues in that you may feel sadness, anxiety, stress, and exhaustion -- just more powerfully.
The best way to overcome this challenge is to contact a doctor or mental health professional to help detect particular depression symptoms you may be experiencing. Getting treatment is extremely important in order to improve your wellbeing.
Postpartum Psychosis: This form of postpartum is the most severe and should be given immediate attention. This mental illness can develop really quickly, most often within the first 3 months after childbirth.
Serious symptoms are faced such as losing touch with reality, experiencing hallucinations, delusions, insomnia, and feeling agitated, angry, and restless. Women who are faced with this challenge require treatment right away so that they can recover, which may include talk therapy, medication, and sometimes hospitalization.
There are many causes of postpartum depression which may be shared or unique to many women. Some of the most common causes are the following:
- Having a family history of depression even prior to becoming or trying to become pregnant
- The age at which you get pregnant plays a role as you have an increased chance of facing this complication the younger you are
- The more children you have, the more likely you are to develop postpartum depression down the road
- Hormones are a huge factor as your body will have a dramatic drop in estrogen and progesterone after you give birth
- Having a lack of sleep or rest will make you overwhelmed which will cause complications when trying to handle your pregnancy and raising your baby
- Being anxious about the journey you are going through may be a triggering factor
- Your self image plays a huge role as you are more inclined to develop postpartum depression if you have a lost sense of identity and self-love
- Facing other challenges during this difficult transition such as marital conflict or occupational stress
- Having limited emotional support or no support system around you throughout your pregnancy journey
Signs and Symptoms
Women can show symptoms of postpartum in different ways, and according to the form of depression they are faced with. Here are a few signs and symptoms of postpartum depression to be aware of:
- Irregular sleeping schedule and difficulty sleeping and/or resting
- Experiencing a change in appetite or eating habits
- Feeling tired or experiencing excessive fatigue
- Sensing a decrease in libido
- Having trouble feeling close to your baby or partner
- Distancing from family members and friends
- Losing interest in daily tasks and hobbies
- Experiencing severe mood swings, anxiety, or panic attacks
- Thoughts of hurting your child or yourself
The best treatment depends on the type of postpartum depression and the severity of experienced symptoms. Regardless, there is no doubt that reaching out for some help and receiving treatment is the best possible solution to overcoming this complication.
Sometimes, the best cure to this issue is time. However, if you find that you have been experiencing any of the symptoms discussed above, it is better to be proactive by taking action. About 90% of women with postpartum depression can be successfully treated with the use of medication or a combination of medication and psychotherapy.
While recovering from postpartum depression, be sure to try getting back to your normal routine. Do the things you love to do and surround yourself with a positive support system to help you along the way. Never hesitate to call a healthcare professional or health and human services to find out the best solution for you so that you can have the pregnancy journey you deserve!