Safe delivery of a baby is a time of gratitude, happiness, and celebration for the whole family. The mother’s joy of cradling her baby in her arms is indescribable. When the whole family seems to be rejoicing, new mothers tend to go through a rollercoaster of emotions. They may experience fatigue, exhaustion, sleep deprivation, low mood, and anxiety. This is your typical, often talked about ‘baby blues’. Many go through this and are able to recover from this. For some mothers, this may last longer, be more extreme or worse. They may experience feelings of extreme sadness, negativity, anxiety, and exhaustion that makes it difficult for them to bond with the baby and care for the baby. They may also have difficulty looking after themselves or other family members. This is likely to be post-partum or post-natal depression.
Symptoms commonly seen in Post-Natal depression are:
Feeling of sadness.
Feeling hopeless or empty or overwhelmed.
Crying spells for no apparent reason.
Feeling anxious, moody, and irritable.
Being unable to sleep even when the baby is asleep.
Difficulty in concentrating, remembering, and making decisions.
Experiencing anger, mood swings, social withdrawal.
Change in appetite.
Thoughts of self-harm or harming the baby.
Post Natal Depression can be due to numerous reasons:
Post-natal depression does not have a single cause but is an interplay of multiple factors ranging from physical to emotional factors. How can a mother tell if she has postpartum depression?
Notice the signs – Symptoms of this condition are broad and vary with each individual, a Psychologist can help a new mother figure out whether the symptoms she is feeling are due to post-natal depression or not.
Opt for a specialist – If a woman experiences any of these symptoms she should not delay and should consult a Psychologist right away as this interferes in her and the baby’s well-being and may result in future behavioral/emotional problems in the child.
Specialised treatment is essential – Counselling/Cognitive-behaviour Therapy has been proven to be very effective and it involves one-on-one sessions with the Psychologist.
Women are more complex – Citizens of the modern age need to understand that each woman is unique and Post-natal depression can affect any woman regardless of her age, economic status, region or ethnicity.
Support is pivotal – Family members and friends may be the first to spot the signs of post-natal depression in a new mother. They can help by giving her required support encouraging her to seek professional help for her thoughts and feelings.