The birth of a child often signifies a new beginning, and is looked upon as a time of joy and celebration, sadly for some women the reverse is often times the case as their emotions get the better of them and mire this happy time in their lives.
It is not uncommon for new mothers to struggle with feelings of inadequacy and crying spells within the first 7- 10 days after birth; this is commonly referred to as “baby blues”, which is normal, usually a brief spell which will eventually go away.
However,Postpartum Depression (PPD) is a form of clinical depression which affects women after childbirth; it can also be diagnosed in new fathers but is more common in women.
It develops within the first four weeks after birth and ould last from months to a year, it is thought to start before delivery with indications of mood change and irritability, which rapidly progresses after child birth.
Its cause is not known, but according to the National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH) ,about 15% of women will experience PPD after the birth of a child.
Many women will go through it and not even be aware of what they are experiencing or that the condition exists .
SIGNS TO LOOK OUT FOR :
Loss of appetite and weight loss
Feeling sad or worthless especially in the mornings
Irritable and angry
Hostility towards husband and baby
Crying for no apparent reason
Difficulty concentrating or lack of focus, cannot make any concrete decisions.
Loss of interest in self, baby and activities around.
Fear of harming oneself or the baby
Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
Feel sluggish or tired
Reoccurring thoughts of death and suicide
Loss of sex drive
Below are a few of the triggers of Post Partum Depression :
The individual may have had past mental issues
Experiencing problems in marriage or a relationship
Suffered abuse from a partner or spouse
No support from family or friends, or family do not live within close proximity .
Having emotional difficulties as a result of finance or work .
Loss of a loved one
Low self esteem
Pregnancy was not planned
Most times women who have PPD are so afraid to ask for help or even admit that they are suffering and this stems from the fear of stigmatization from family and friends or a culture that marks you as weak, if it seems as though you cannot cope with motherhood .
The first step to recovery is to be honest about your feelings and speak out! Tell your family and friends how you feel and they will help you through this period by advising and helping you in areas where you feel overwhelmed.
Speak with your doctor about your feelings, depending on the severity of your condition may prescribe some antidepressants.
It is important to get over this feeling as quickly as possible for the sake of your overall well being and that of your child. There is ample evidence to suggest that developmental problems that occur in the baby because of a mother’s depression may persist into adolescence.
Do not suffer in silence , speak out and break the cycle of depression in your life , as its effects on you are far reaching as it will not only affect you but your loved ones as well.