Childbirth is one of the most joyous moments in a mother's life. This occasion can make her feel exhilarated and extremely proud. It is supposed to be one of the greatest moments for the new parents and their families.
But, what happens when the mother loses her ability to feel happy about her childbirth? Does that sound absurd?
Yes, it can happen when a serious clinical condition known as the postnatal depression or postpartum depression affects the mother.
Postnatal depression, popularly known as the 'maternity blues', usually affects women who have recently given birth to a child, which onsets typically during the initial few weeks after birth.
Studies show that about 60% of the women suffer from postnatal depression.
While the reasons for postnatal depression are not clearly known, experts opine that it could be due to hormonal changes, the fear over the responsibility of the newborn, previous instances of depression, genetics, etc.
Postnatal depression can include symptoms like fatigue, sadness, low-self-esteem, low sex drive, anxiety, social withdrawal, etc.
It varies in its degree of severity and, in extreme cases, it can also make the patient feel suicidal.
Postpartum depression must not be taken lightly and the patient must be given medical attention, physiological help and an emotional support.
Here are a few facts about postnatal depression that many people would not be aware of.
A lot of people are under the misconception that postnatal depression has no cure. Contrary to that belief, a research has proven that, with extensive therapy, medications and behavioural changes, this condition can be effectively treated.
Postnatal depression can affect the bond between the mother and her child, since during the crucial period of bonding, the mother would be under depression that may not allow her to spend quality time with her baby.
If postnatal depression is not treated immediately, it can turn worse and lead to serious complications later on. It could turn into a manic depression that is not easily treatable and can hamper the woman's life.
Many new mothers and their family members often do not realise that she is suffering from postnatal depression, as most of the symptoms are not easily noticeable and may be passed off as regular fatigue or mood swings. This may slow down the process of getting a treatment for it.
It is not just the new mothers, but studies have also shown that even new fathers can go through a milder degree of postpartum depression because of the fear of a new responsibility.
Research studies have shown that women who have been victims of a violent childhood or a violent relationship are more prone to postnatal depression.
Single mothers and homosexual couples are also more prone to postnatal depression compared to women in stable relationships and heterosexual women, is what the studies claim.
Postnatal depression can have severe consequences in extreme cases, in which the mother might physically harm herself or her child. Also, this disorder, if left untreated, can lead to the mother neglecting the child, which may cause various psychological problems in the child.