Ever heard of the term “baby blues”? Clinically known as postpartum or postnatal depression, this is a term that is used to describe the feelings of depression and anxiety after the birth of your child. While it is generally assumed that having a baby will make you happy and joyful, this may not be the case for women who are suffering from postpartum depression.
The exhaustion after giving birth is coupled with sleepless nights and anxiety for your child, leading to baby blues. Almost all new moms experience a certain amount of depression symptoms three to five days after the birth of their child.
These include signs such as moodiness, a need to burst into tears and feelings of overwhelming sadness after their baby’s birth. However these symptoms are dispelled after a couple of weeks. In case the symptoms are persistent or worsen with time then the woman is said to suffering from postpartum depression.
New moms dealing with postpartum depression find it difficult to bond with their babies, showing inconsistent behavior of overt affection at times or an absolute lack of it at other. The other common signs of depression after the birth of the baby include feelings of restlessness and hopelessness.
There is a feeling of absolute lack of energy, fatigue and inability to do simple things like eating and sleeping. She may be snappy and irritable with feelings of anger towards the situation.
While a simple case of baby blues may result in these signs, in case of severe postpartum depression the symptoms are even more palpable. This is then termed as postpartum psychosis.
This extreme depression may lead to negative feeling towards the child or a total lack of interest in the child. Alternately she may be obsessed with constant worry about the well being of the child and may fear harming the newborn.
A sense of guilt and worthlessness seems to pervade her entire life. In fact it is seen that women suffering from severe form of postpartum depression usually display symptoms like hallucinations, delusions and even harboring thoughts of hurting the baby or themselves. Left untreated, this condition can worsen or lead to the woman harming herself or the baby in some way.
Postpartum depression in women can be caused by changes in the progesterone and estrogen levels after pregnancy along with a significant drop in thyroid levels.
Other physical factors contributing to the depression include changes in sleep patterns, fatigue, stress along with pain in the birth canal region. Along with this certain emotional factors like a feeling of loss of identity or being restricted to your house can trigger off the depression.
Women struggle with the stress of coping with a child or have insecurities regarding physical and other changes. If the postpartum depression is persistent for more than two to three weeks and worsens with time then it is best to consult a doctor for treatment measures like psychotherapy.