Family Magazine

Postpartum Depression- A Must Read for New Moms

By Hemapriya Natesan @MyLittleMoppet
Postpartum Depression- A Must Read for New Moms

Postpartum depression, or PPD, is gaining more awareness these days as a serious condition that requires medical help.

PPD is not the same as postpartum blues; postpartum blues in severe cases may lead to Postpartum Depression-a serious, serious illness!

My dear baby, I love you, I know,

The love began 9 months ago..

How I waited, to see your tiny hands and feet,

Echoing in the doctor's room, your racing heart beat!

The anxiety, the excitement of your arrival date,

You were our mission, our goal, our awaited fate.

And then one day, I became a 'MOM'

Be strong, know it all! Cause that's the norm!

But I know so little and I always fear,

How will I raise you? My baby my dear..

I know I love you, I really do,

But I cry all night and feel so blue.

The afterbirth was supposed to be a fairytale!

Now look at me, all dull and frail.

I know I love you, I really do..

But this is a phase, I can't get through.

I feel so lonely and in despair,

My life all changed and it just isn't fair!

May be what they say is really true,

There does exist Postpartum blue ..!

~ Poem by Mansi Gupta

What Causes Postpartum Depression?

Many mothers, in fact more than 80 % mothers, tend to feel overwhelmed by the process of giving birth. This however, is normal and should not be confused with postpartum depression. There isn't one specific reason or cause for PPD though experts claim that a combination of factors, such as sudden drop of hormone levels, anxiety and/or depression during the pregnancy period, can result in PPD. The background of the mother plays an important role in studying the course of this depression. Women with existing marital problems, financial pressures, family history of depression or anxiety, inadequate support and other pre existing difficulties are definitely at a higher risk.

Symptoms of PPD that need immediate attention

  1. Uncontrolled crying
  2. No bond with the baby
  3. Irritated and angry throughout the day
  4. Urges to harm self / baby
  5. Emptiness and a feeling of numbness
  6. Strong feeling of failure
  7. Feeling lonely and burdened
  8. Disconnected from loved ones
  9. Other negative feelings like hopelessness, or extreme guilt.

Case study

It was 4am and the baby finally stopped suckling on Elena's breast. She carefully held the baby, more with the fear of waking her up rather than her safety and placed her in the baby cot. She had a list of things to sterilize and a lot of pending housework. She had never known the importance of maids till she had her newborn. Michael, who was usually helpful in the day and was a loving father to their daughter, couldn't manage the nights. Just as Elena was leaving the room, she saw him sleeping, in deep, tired slumber. She was suddenly gripped with a fear: Is this how life would be from now on? Earlier that day she had these same thoughts while she checked her Facebook notifications. Every one was either partying all night or travelling to new destinations, while all she wanted was a little sleep. More questions began to cloud her thinking. Was I ready for this baby? Is it too soon for us to have a baby? What if my baby finds out that I have thoughts like these? Before she knew it, she was soaked in tears and Michael was shaking her, "Elena, Elena, are you okay?" She opened her eyes and saw the baby in his arms crying bitterly to be comforted by the only person she knew; her extremely depressed mother!

Postpartum Depression- A Must Read for New Moms

Role of the Family in PPD

Indian families usually expect mothers to be extremely intuitive about raising babies because it is a very natural process for a woman. Having said that, nature sometimes surprises us too with calamities, doesn't it? Post partum depression is one such calamity, and if it is not handled well and in a timely manner, it can take down an entire family.

Husbands play an extremely important role in helping their wives get through postpartum depression. "Whether you breastfeed or not, you will not be less of a mother in my eyes. If you do feed, we will have a happy, healthy baby and if you don't, we will still raise a happy, healthy baby," said Nitin when his wife revealed her worries about breast feeding that were adding to her depression. A stable, sensitive and empathising family will make this difficult journey of postpartum depression short and less painful. Talking to your therapist or gynaecologist about counselling the family also helps.

Postpartum Depression- A Must Read for New Moms

Tips for Readers

1. If you know someone suffering this problem, refrain from over advising; it only adds to the confusion.

2. Take the person out for coffee or some pampering in a beauty parlor or spa. Later, gently suggest discussing her symptoms with her gynecologist as soon as possible.

3. Do not compare yourself with other mothers or their baby's milestones.

4. Realize the fact that social media lives are very different from a person's real lives. Only the best of the best is shown on social media.

5. Life returns to normal as the baby grows. As much as we mothers hate hearing this, it's true-'This is just a PHASE.'

Postpartum depression is serious, but not insurmountable. With good family support and proper medical advice, several cases like these have been resolved successfully, and the mothers have come out happy and confident and have raised good, healthy babies. Remember, help is just a phone call away!

Postpartum Depression- A Must Read for New Moms

My dear baby, I love you, I know,

The love began 9 months ago..

Forever and ever this love will grow..

I may doubt 'me' but 'you', never for sure..

My baby, my dear I love you so..

Postpartum Depression- A Must Read for New Moms

Mansi Nipun Gupta is a Psychotherapist and a Relationship Counselor. With a soon to be 1 year old naughty son, Mansi currently teaches and counsels students from various backgrounds. With her innovative learning methodologies and student management skills, she coaches students for life skills and academics. She also conducts seminars on parenting and relationship management.

Lots of Love,

Postpartum Depression- A Must Read for New Moms

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