Postpartum depression, signs, symptoms and treatments

Postpartum depression is a mental disorder that occurs in women in the postpartum period and is characterized by low mood and inability to receive positive emotions from life.

This disorder occurs only in women and has its own characteristics. During pregnancy, a radical restructuring of the whole body occurs, the physiology of the body and the hormonal background of a woman change. Add to this the habit of being a mother, lifestyle changes, the need to care for a newborn, and household chores.

Many older people, especially our grandmothers, treat the diagnosis of postpartum depression with some degree of irony. They can tell with undisguised pride how, during their youth, women gave birth to 3-5 children, worked in a factory and did housework, without even thinking about the existence of this type of depression. In those days, everything was different: a different ecology and nutrition, lifestyle and peculiarities of the worldview of women. Nowadays women adapt worse to changes, life is full of stress, nutrition and ecology are worse than they were 50 years ago. This can explain the widespread prevalence of postpartum depression in the modern world.

Main reasons

Let’s list the main reasons due to which such depression can occur:
* Difficulties during the last months of pregnancy and difficult childbirth.
* Problems with breastfeeding.
* Health problems of the child.
* Irregular sleep and wakefulness in the baby.
* Family, financial and household difficulties.
* Lack of help from husband and relatives.
* Excessive physical activity.
* Difficulties in the period of adaptation to a new life, difficulties in getting used to the role of the mother.
* Neurological disorders and individual characteristics of the woman’s psyche.

The problem is that postpartum depression doesn’t develop overnight. Emotional stress builds up gradually, so the woman does not realize that her condition has worsened. She reacts very painfully to the comments of relatives and friends, denying negative changes in her condition.

On the one hand, a woman seeks to conform to the ideal image of a mother imposed by social stereotypes. On the other hand, a woman experiences extreme stress and guilt because she cannot be the mother and wife she originally intended to be. The woman begins to withdraw into herself, neglects the mode of sleep and rest in order to achieve the ideal image of the mother. At this moment, the circle closes, and every day more and more prerequisites are created for the development of postpartum depression.

You can distinguish postpartum depression by the following symptoms:

* Fatigue, lethargy and drowsiness. A woman cannot feel rested even after a long period of rest. Waking up in the morning, she already feels overwhelmed.
* Lack of joy and positive emotions even when interacting with the baby. The daily care of the baby turns a woman’s life into groundhog day. Neither walks in the fresh air, nor success in the development of the child, nor the time spent with him are pleasing.
* Aggressiveness and irritability towards family members and friends (including the child);
* Another symptom of postpartum depression is pessimism, depression, sad thoughts.
* Abrupt mood changes, including sudden hysterics, tearfulness for no objective reason.
* Eating disorders (lack of appetite or, conversely, a sudden onset of hunger).
* Insomnia, anxiety before bedtime.
* Loss of interest in activities you love, even in those that have been enjoyable all your life.
* Feelings of fear and anxiety (for your life, for the health of your child, for your relationship with your husband, for the future).
* Feeling your weakness and helplessness, the inability to influence your life and keep it under control.
* Emotional burnout in relation to the child.
Memory and concentration disorders (forgetfulness, everything falls out of hand, awkward actions).
* Disorders in the body and psychosomatic disorders (headaches, changes in the digestive system).

Postpartum depression treatment

Only in some cases does a woman manage to successfully cope with postpartum depression on her own. In most cases, this neurological disorder must be treated under the supervision of a specialist. In order to prescribe the correct and effective therapy, the doctor may prescribe you tests and prescribe medications, for example, hormones, vitamin and mineral complexes and antidepressants. Thus, recovery will go faster, because your goal is to again learn to receive joy from life and receive happiness from motherhood.

The following treatments for postpartum depression have been shown to be effective:
* Psychotherapy. This method combines psychological assistance with the effects of drugs (sedatives, antidepressants, antipsychotics). Many women worry that they will have to stop breastfeeding because of the medication. Indeed, this is an unpleasant moment, but when choosing between breastfeeding and your own mental well-being, it would be more correct to give preference to the second option. After all, your child needs a happy and healthy mother. Modern milk formulas are designed in such a way as to satisfy the needs of the baby’s body as much as possible.
* Help of family and friends, an effective method in the fight against postpartum depression. Do not hesitate to ask for help, it will not make you a bad mother in the eyes of others. Your relatives will only be happy if they take a stroller for a few hours a day, while you rest or do what you love. If you have girlfriends who need a part-time job, you can invite them for a few hours a couple of times a week to clean up the apartment and cook food for a cash reward. As a last resort, you can hire a nanny several times a week.
* With postpartum depression, not only physical assistance is very important, but also moral support. You need to have someone to whom you can talk about your condition, fears and emotions and get support. Meet more often with your friends, invite them to visit. If there are no people in your environment whom you could trust, use the Internet. There are a large number of forums and thematic groups for moms where you can talk and get useful advice. You can also enroll in a club for young mothers – such organizations now operate in every city. There you will find like-minded people and new girlfriends.
* Take time for your looks and hobbies. A young mother definitely needs to do what gives her pleasure. The best rest is a change of activity. It will be great if you leave your baby with dad several times a week, and sign up for the fitness room yourself. Do not give up classes, citing unbearable physical activity at home. It is very helpful to change your environment and talk to other women. Yoga classes will be an ideal option for you: they will help not only keep your body in shape, but also restore mental balance. Don’t forget about looks: get a trendy haircut, go for a manicure. You will be pleased to wake up in the morning and see yourself well-groomed.
* Walking in the fresh air is another method that will help in the fight against postpartum depression. During the warm season, walk around beautiful places as much as possible. Children behave calmly in the stroller and most often sleep. This means that you will have time to relax, listen to music on your phone, chat with your friends. Hiking promotes health and weight loss.
* Close contact with the baby. As a rule, in the arms of the mother, the baby calms down very quickly. If you feel very tired, put aside everything and lie down with your child on the sofa. Download it, sing songs, do children’s gymnastics, play and caress. This way you can rest easy for a while and strengthen contact with your baby. Interacting with your child will bring you joy and peace of mind.
* Transition to proper nutrition. Avoid spicy, salty and fatty foods, fast food and convenience foods. Make sure you have enough fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet. It is very important to eat foods rich in calcium, magnesium, vitamins A, B, C, E. Eat regularly so as not to feel hungry. Spoil yourself with your favorite treats from time to time.
Fill your life with positive things and learn to enjoy the little things. Drive away negative thoughts, although this may be difficult at first, but it can help you overcome postpartum depression.
* Learn techniques for effective relaxation. In psychology, there are techniques that help you relax and restore peace of mind. You can take special yoga asanas, meditate, listen to calm music, learn special breathing exercises. For some women, a bubble bath with aromatic oils helps to relax.

The period of postpartum depression is a difficult test for a woman who has recently become a mother. Try to do your best to see the symptoms and get over the condition. If necessary, be sure to consult a doctor. Depression will not pass without a trace for you: after recovery, you will realize that you have become stronger, wiser and more experienced; notice changes in character and outlook for the better.