Postpartum Depression: Maternal Mental Health Issue
Becoming a mom entails an arduous, uncomfortable, and painful journey that lasts around nine months. These months can have terrible moments of physical discomfort and sometimes the mental health also gets severely affected. Maternal mental health is indeed a serious and sensitive issue, and should never be taken lightly.
With the addition of a new small member in the family, it may not always be a “bundle of joy”. Some mothers may experience anxiety and depression. People say that there’s a different and strong connection between mother and baby but in some cases a mother would feel unconnected with her baby.
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Baby blue vs Postpartum Depression
It is normal if she feels sad just after the delivery. She might not be able to accept the fact that someone new has come into her life and new responsibilities would be added. But with time everything would be okay and life would be normal as before. It’s called the baby blues and it usually goes away in 3 to 5 days.
But, if the sadness and emptiness continue for more than two weeks then she might be going through postpartum depression (PPD). A mother going through PPD doesn’t hold love and care for her baby.
Symptoms of PPD:
- Certain kind of emptiness is felt by the mother.
- She’s not able to accept the baby and there is not any sort of affection towards the baby.
- With the passage of time the sadness grows more and more that it starts to affect her health physically and mentally.
- She might cry for a long period of time.
- Restlessness, mood swings, sadness, etc are the symptoms of PPD.
- Sleeping for a very short period of time or a long period of time, eating too less or eating too much.
In severe cases, she might even think of hurting or killing the baby.
If you see these symptoms in someone, go and talk to them as they may be embarrassed to share what they are going through. They might not be able to share with someone as they are afraid of being judged.
Some of the mothers may have postpartum psychosis too but it is rare. It is a serious mental illness and symptoms are seen two weeks after giving birth. Chances of postpartum psychosis are high in those who are diagnosed with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. They would have unusual thoughts like hallucinations, confusion, delusions, etc.
Celebrities and PPD
Even celebrities go through PPD. Sarah Michelle Gellar shared that she went through PPD after the birth of her first child, her daughter, Charlotte. She shared about depression and the diagnosis through her Instagram. “Having kids is wonderful, and life-changing, and rarely what you’re prepared for,” she writes. “I love my children more than anything in the world. But like a lot of women, I too struggled with postpartum depression after my first baby was born.”
The 31-year-old model and Television personality, Chrissy Teigen also had PPD after the birth of her first child, daughter Luna. Adele also revealed in her acceptance speech at the Grammys: “…in my pregnancy, and through becoming a mother, I lost a lot of myself. I struggled, and I still do struggle being a mum – it’s really hard”.
What to do
If you are going through PPD, please share it with your husband or family members or your relatives or your friends. Spend your time with them and take enough sleep.
Have enough rest and eat on time.
If you have postpartum depression, it does not make you a bad mother. It is a disease and you need to take steps to cure it otherwise it may harm not only you but even your child.
If the condition is severe you can join a support group, get therapy, or visit a doctor.
In extreme cases, Electroconvulsive Therapy is used to cure PPD.
If you know someone who you feel could be going through PPD, lend them your ears and help them seek proper help.
Maternal mental health is indeed and should be everybody’s concern. Today is World Maternal Mental Health Day so let us make ourselves aware of the mental health issues that mothers endure.
Let us help mothers around us feel safe and heal better!