Post Partum Depression
Do you think you might be suffering from post partum depression? If you suspect that you are, it's important to make sure you tell your doctor or midwife immediately. There is no shame in post partum depression and it happens to thousands upon thousands of women every year all over the world.
The good news is that there is no need to suffer. Treatments are available to help you get through this difficult time. And recovery from this type of depression is common, even if it feels like it'll never end while you're experiencing it.
As one mother who experienced post partum depression and recovered says, "It will happen for you. Just reach out for help."
What Exactly is Post Partum Depression?
During pregnancy a woman's hormones go through drastic changes. Once the baby is born, the hormones plummet and can have a significant impact on the way a woman feels.
Symptoms typically begin to show up in the first few months after giving birth. The depression can last months and even past a year, according to the Canadian Mental Health Association.
7 Main Post Partum Depression Symptoms
Symptoms include the following:
· Crying episodes
· Reduced libido
· Extreme changes in sleeping and eating patterns
These symptoms are general and could describe almost every new mother, acknowledges Medline Plus, an online service provided by the US national Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health. New mothers often feel happy one minute and sad the next. Some are even prone to uncontrollable outbursts of emotion. If this is happening, and you start to feel better in a week or two, you likely have what's called the baby blues, according to Medline.
But you should seek medical help if the feeling of being overwhelmed and sad hasn't gone away after or significantly reduced after a couple of weeks. You could have post partum depression. And if you do, it's important to remember that the depression is not your fault and there is nothing you could have done to prevent it.
If Post Partum Depression Gets Worse
In addition to feeling sad, post partum depression can make you feel worthless, restless and highly anxious. Some mothers worry they'll hurt themselves or their new babies. If the new mother becomes frantic and paranoid, she might have a condition called post partum psychosis. This condition is very rare, but is often highly publicized if the outcome is disastrous such as the mother killing her children.
If a doctor suspects a woman has post partum psychosis, she may need to be hospitalized. Treatment is possible and the woman won't be a potential danger to herself or her children if she receives the correct treatment.
Coping With Post Partum Depression
It's important to seek medical help if you have post partum depression. But taking control of your own health and developing an action plan will help you get through this clinical depression.
The American Academy of Family Physicians created a Post Partum Action plan to help women with the condition overcome it. It's a simple plan where the woman focuses on a small, and perhaps seemingly insignificant thing, that makes her happy. Then as she starts to feel better, she adds more activities.
Steps in the action plan include daily physical activity, even if you don't feel like it. The American Academy of Family Physicians also encourages women to spend time with people who help and support them and fight the urge to seclude yourself. Learning to relax won't cure the depression, but it can help you cope. So can setting simple, attainable goals for yourself and not expecting too much. It's important to give yourself credit for everything you do no matter how small.