Kelli DiDomenico from The Children’s Workshop gives tips on identifying and coping with postpartum depression.
Having a baby is considered one of the best moments in a person’s life. All your family and friends want to join you in celebrating this momentous time, but instead you may feel like crying or just want to go to your bedroom and sleep. Please know that if you are feeling this way, you’re not alone. Many women do not experience the typical joy of giving birth but rather going through what is commonly named “the baby blues” or if your symptoms get worst or extend after a few weeks, it maybe postpartum depression.What is postpartum depression…
Baby blues is a common experience – it’s very common for new moms to experience some form of the “baby blues” after they give birth. However, if this mild depression and sadness don’t go away after a few weeks but actually intensify, you maybe be experiencing what is known as postpartum depression. This illness can interfere with Mom’s ability to care for her newborn. So, please seek advice and/or help from your doctor.Signs and Symptoms to look for…
Keep in mind that postpartum depression can start off looking like a common case of the aforementioned baby blues. They share many of the same symptoms, such as being irritable, having mood swings, periods of crying for no reason, insomnia, or a feeling of sadness.What makes the symptoms different from baby blues?
- Symptoms are more severe and last longer
- Suicidal thoughts or inability to care for your infant
- Lack of interest in your baby or concern with yourself
- Loss of pleasure
- Negative feelings towards your newborn or thoughts of hurting them
- Sleep disturbance, sleeping more or less than normal
- Lack of get up and go and motivation to get normal activities done
- Changes in weight and appetite
Risk factors and causes…
- Network of support – Lack of support from partner, family or friends or relationship difficulties with in the family
- History – past medical history of PMS or premenstrual dysphoric disorder, family history of depression, or medical complications for mom or the baby
- Stress – Being a first time or new mom holds a host of stressful triggers in itself. New moms are often over- stressed due to lack of sleep, exercise or proper eating habits, due to time constraints and adjusting to the hectic schedule of becoming a mom.
- Physical and hormonal changes – It’s certainly a given that giving birth brings about numerous physical and hormonal changes to a mom’s body including pain, emotional rawness, weight and body image issues, medical concerns, just to name a few.
- Sleep – make sure that you’re getting enough sleep
- Ask for help – Don’t be afraid to lean on your family and friends for support during those difficult times. It’s not a failure if you reach out for support.
- Set aside some me time – Don’t be ashamed to step outside for a breath of fresh air, take a walk or run to the store without the baby. It will help you to energize yourself and return to your baby with a refreshed and positive attitude.
- Share your feelings – Don’t keep your feelings to yourself, share your thoughts with your family and friends…that is why they are there. Don’t be ashamed to seek professional help.
- Join a support group
- Seek support to assist with household duties