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Postpartum Depression And Things That Can Cause It

By Subodini Menon

Postpartum depression is a behavioural problem seen in women after they give birth. It is very common and is seen in more than 1 in 8 women. The symptoms include a feeling of helplessness and sadness. The woman may not feel any bonding with the child and she may have feelings of shame or guilt for not feeling the way she is expected to about her baby.

Often, the postpartum depression is brushed off as fatigue and baby blues. The truth is that it is very different and it affects the woman differently. The signs you should look out for are eating disorders, sleeping disorders, anxiety, guilt, shame, feelings and thought of causing harm to the baby, not feeling like themselves, etc.

Postpartum depression and things that can cause it

The symptoms of postpartum depression appear within three months of birth. While it heightens around the 4-month mark, the woman can suffer from it for years if undetected or untreated.

The question is, can you prevent postpartum depression? It might not be possible to prevent postpartum depression; but you can always try and understand what causes it and try to prevent those scenarios from arising as much as possible.

Today, we shall talk about some of the triggers of postpartum depression. Some of them might be preventable and others cannot be averted. The best thing you can do is to arm yourself with knowledge to fight postpartum depression.

• Hormones

The hormones in a woman's body turn upside down, as she deals with pregnancy and childbirth. There is no way to say how a woman's mind will react to the surge or decline of a hormone. The cocktail of hormones flowing in the woman's veins can be a trigger of postpartum depression.

While it is not possible to control and revert the hormone levels without the use of drugs, immense amounts of support, ample love and plenty of tender care can help bring the new mother back into normalcy.

• Fatigue

A new mom is faced with days, weeks and months of sleepless nights and tiring days. When the fatigue creeps in, so can the postpartum depression. The brain ceases to function properly, when it is intensely tired. The new mother begins to question her life and wishes that the baby had never been born.

She feels overwhelmed and feels unprepared for taking care of this new baby. You can help a new mom escape the clutches of postpartum depression by offering her help whenever possible. Bring her food, clean and offer to take care of the baby to give her a few hours of shut eye.

• Stress

A new mother's life is stressful to say the least. The fact that she has a wailing baby on her hands doesn't excuse her from the other chores and duties, which may include the care of previous children. If she is a first-time mom, she has to learn caring for her newborn from the scratch and it can be a difficult task for her.

You can help prevent postpartum depression by giving her a listening ear. You can also support her by telling her that it will all be okay. Help her in any way that you can.

• Physical Changes

While the new mother deals with the internal changes that include hormone fluctuations after the pregnancy, she also has to deal with the physical changes that happen. She realizes that her body will not magically go back to the way it was before.

She then has to process and accept the fact that she may actually never look or feel the same way as she did before she got pregnant. Saggy breasts, stretch marks, loose skin on the tummy, etc., are all here to stay. All these can make her spiral into postpartum depression.

• Anxiety

A life with a newborn can seem unreal and uncertain to a new mom. More so, if it is a first-time mom who has had no experience in taking care of a baby. There are moms who are scared to even hold their babies, lest they hurt it. They can be anxious about feeding their babies, especially when they are unable to breastfeed for some reason.

They can be anxious about their relationship with their spouse. Anxiety can take hold in a new mom's life about every aspect of it. You can help an anxious mom by telling her how everybody goes through it and that it is okay to make mistakes. The hard times will come to pass and that everything will be fine.

• No Support From Near And Dear Ones

What a new mom needs the most from her spouse, family and friends is understanding and unconditional support. No mom can deal with her life with a new baby efficiently if she lacks the support of the people around her. The support can come physically, mentally, spiritually and financially. A lack of support can push her into the deep chasm of postpartum depression.

• Financial Difficulties And Uncertainties

It is a no-brainer that having kids costs money. Every mother wants to give the best to her child - be it food, toys, clothes or education. But all of this comes at a cost and if the mother is financially unstable or insecure, she is sure to be in a lot of tension.

This can cause the mother to suffer from postpartum depression. The problem can become greater if the new mom is a single parent or is completely dependent on an uncooperative partner. What you can do to help this new mom out is to help her with some financial aid. It would be a good deed if you can help her be financially independent in some way.

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    Read more about: postpartum depression
    Story first published: Saturday, June 2, 2018, 15:00 [IST]
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