How to start enjoying motherhood: postpartum depression and methods to combat it
The first thing a woman hears after the birth of a child is numerous congratulations from family and friends. And the whole environment seems to impose a state of happiness on the young mother. But what if she experiences completely different emotions?
According to statistics from the World Health Organization, about 13% of women who give birth suffer from postpartum depression. Despite the fact that these figures indicate frequent cases of this disease, many mothers are embarrassed or afraid to discuss their feelings with others. Often, relatives do not even have time to understand that help is needed.
Fear for a child, disbelief in one’s own strength, contempt for oneself, loneliness are signals about something deeper and more dangerous, which can lead to tragic consequences. The main thing that a woman should do for the sake of her child is to take care of her own psychological comfort.
Types of Depression After Childbirth
“Depression” is understood to mean a suppressed emotional state, characterized by inertia, lethargy, lack of interest in life and surroundings. In this case, two criteria are used to determine depression:
time criterion: the period of the condition lasts at least 2 weeks. In this case, we are no longer just talking about the need for rest and a change of environment.
criterion of severity: steady decline in mood. It affects all living standards, disrupting the normal functioning of a person.
In a state of a young mother, 3 states of mental disorder can be noted:
Mood instability (the so-called “infant blues”) – an emotional swing from euphoria to depression. It occurs in the first week after childbirth, passes quickly, is associated with hormonal changes in the body.
Postpartum depression – a period of sleep disturbance, refusal to eat, somatic symptoms (illness, refusal of food), long periods of depression.
Postpartum psychosis is the most severe form of mental disorder, including hallucinations, delusions, persecution mania, panic attacks. A person becomes dangerous, needs long-term inpatient treatment.
The difference between postpartum and maternal depression
During the first year of life, the psychological comfort of the mother is constantly tested. During the first six months of life, a woman may notice signs of depression associated with the emergence of a new burden of responsibility and many other factors.
After the first year of the child’s life, when life and communication with the child are established, a new round may occur – maternal depression.
The reasons for its appearance may be:
A long period of social isolation during which the woman’s communication was limited
Longing for self-interest and former life
Tired of routine tasks
Depending on the severity of the course, the following can help: a change of scenery, returning to work part-time or remotely, searching for a new hobby, consulting a psychologist.
Causes of Postpartum Depression
You should not think that postpartum depression affects women who did not want a baby, or who have difficulties in relations with their husband. Stressful family situations can play a role and serve as a catalyst, but this is only one of the factors.
The emergence and development of postpartum depression can be affected by both external and internal causes:
Genetic predisposition: it is believed that this mental disorder can be inherited
Unstable psyche: earlier, frequent mood swings were observed, the woman was registered with specialists
Hormonal changes as a result of pregnancy and childbirth. Perhaps, before this, the young mother was being treated
Somatic trauma: complications after childbirth, cesarean section
The health status of the child. Congenital illnesses, hospital admissions during the first six months of life can undermine the mother’s self-confidence
Domestic reasons: quarrels in the family, lack of ability to provide the child with everything necessary or desired
There is another factor that is not scientific in nature, but rather household. During the entire period of pregnancy, a woman gets used to the fact that her condition is constantly monitored. The same thing happens in the first week after the birth of a baby: doctors examine a young mother, make sure of full rehabilitation. After discharge, the focus of attention is shifted exclusively to the baby: visits of the foster sister, vaccinations, consultations with doctors, diet. The woman is sharply relegated to the background, although she still needs support.
Negative consequences for the child
In the first year of life, the development of babies is accelerated. The state of the mother can directly affect his worldview. If the child does not receive the proper positive attitude, he begins to lag behind in development.