How Do You Know if It’s Postpartum Depression?

Your baby won’t be called a bundle of joy without a good reason. A baby can bring heaps of happiness to parents and family, especially the mother who for nine months carried this little being inside her womb. If not for the pain of childbirth, you’d probably see moms jumping up and down with joy once they see their cute angels.

But do you know that on the other side of this joy and delight lies a dark area where a condition called postpartum depression exists?

What is Postpartum Depression?
Many moms, especially new ones, experience baby blues, mood swings, and crying spells during the first days after childbirth. These can be due to the pain or suffering they’ve gone through or the fear of being responsible for another human being. Normally, these negative emotions fade away in time, particularly, after they’ve gotten into the mantra of being a jolly mom. When they don’t face away, the condition becomes what they call postpartum depression.

A mother with postpartum depression may begin to act strangely, have delusions about things that aren’t there, and even pose danger to herself and her little one. She would also feel extreme sadness, anxiety, emptiness and hopelessness. She would lose pleasure in things that used to make her happy and excited. She would have trouble concentrating, eating or sleeping.

This condition is caused primarily by the changes in the hormone levels after pregnancy. It can also occur after a miscarriage, stillbirth, or many months after giving birth to a healthy baby. Postpartum depression is more common in women who have had this condition before, who lack support from spouse/family/friend, who have babies that are prone to sickness and colic, who undergo high levels of stress in life, or who have relatives that have bipolar or manic depression disorder.

In rare cases, women would have negative thoughts of harming their babies. Most of the time, these are not urges but simply fleeting thoughts like “what if I accidentally dropped my baby?” or “I won’t be able to forgive myself if I make my baby eat spoiled food”. The mother may become so distraught about these negative thoughts that she may be prompted to suicide just to avoid harming her little one.

Fortunately, postpartum depression can be prevented. To minimize the effects of hormonal changes and stress of parenthood, ask all the help you can get. This would enable you to get the right amount of sleep and rest you need to stay in the pink of health. Be sure to eat a well-balanced diet so you’ll have the energy required as a mother. Exercising shouldn’t be left out of the picture as well since physical activity doesn’t only make you stronger but also boosts your mood by releasing feel-good chemicals in the brain called serotonin.

Stay away from alcohol and caffeine that would only throw you off the track of wellness. If you are at high risk of postpartum depression such as if you have family history, it is a must to inform your doctor immediately. It is a medical emergency that requires immediate treatment.

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