Life with a newborn can be wonderful. However, media and societal views can make this time appear more perfect than it is in reality. Some may say it is idealized too much, projecting an attractive and happy mother, a calm and smiling baby, a friendly family spending time together in an impeccably cleaned house. But is it really like this? Quite often a husband and relatives do not know the best way to support a new mother, they might pay more attention to a child than to mom. One popular saying describes this as a transformation “from a pregnant princess to a delivered peasant woman.” It is not surprising that many mothers experience anxiety and depression, which can lead into postpartum depression within the first weeks after delivery.
Postpartum depression can affect anyone, regardless of ethnicity or socioeconomic status. Recently, new mother Chrissy Teigen, a famous model and wife of John Legend, publicly came out about suffering from postpartum depression after the birth of their daughter Luna. So don’t be embarrassed or suffer alone. By reaching out to others you can get the help you need and get back on your feet.
Postpartum depression statistics
Even though the term ‘postpartum’ implies that the depression occurs after the delivery, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report has published a report about postpartum statistics where they do not separate pregnant women who are depressed from those who have given birth to a child and then become depressed. The reason is that the anxiety and depression a pregnant woman experiences only increases with delivery.
The Center for Disease Control has conducted research among more than 50,000 new moms from different states. New mothers underwent a survey that included a survey of questions. According to the answers, some women who had given birth within past 2 to 6 months were diagnosed with postpartum depression. The number of women who were diagnosed fluctuated from 11.7% to 20.4% depending on the state. In can be concluded that nearly 1 in 7 woman who delivered has a risk of severe depression. (Information is taken from WebMD.com)
Postpartum depression in men
Postpartum depression in women is a common phenomenon, while some might be a bit shocked with the news that postpartum depression in men also occurs. According to a study conducted by Dr. Paul G. Ramchandani, published in The New York Times on Dec. 7, 2009, 4% of 26,000 of new fathers were classified as having severe symptoms of depression. The fathers experienced it during the first eight weeks after their children were born. But it also happens that men are so engaged in fatherhood that they question or repress the feeling of growing postpartum depression. Men could be more concerned about the financial stability of the family rather than about a life-transforming event but this is what makes them no less depressed than new mothers. In other words, anxiety and depression within an after-birth period in men and women occurs.
Symptoms of depression
Symptoms of postpartum depression are similar to those of neurotic depression. Typical symptoms can be: increased anxiety and fearfulness, depressed mood, lack of energy, sadness, and recurring panic attacks. Many women consider themselves to be lonely, they suffer feelings of constant tiredness and incapacity, they worry that they are bad mothers, that their child does not receive proper care, attention, love, etc.
In addition to the above-mentioned symptoms of depression, some women suffer from insomnia, prolonged sleep, attacks of rapid heartbeat and headache, weight loss, and obsessive fear. A new mother with post-partum depression can be very pessimistic about her future and the future of her child.
In severe depressive disorders, there may be delusions or hallucinations. Most often, delusions are in some way connected with the child. In that case, a new mother creates her own reality that is different from actual events. These women need medical help and strong family support.
How long does postpartum depression last?
In typical cases, postpartum depression occurs within first three months after childbirth. The duration of this disorder is different for each individual. With timely psychological and medical assistance and the absence of a hereditary predisposition, the disease can be treated within a few months (and maybe earlier).
If a woman has previously suffered from bipolar personality disorder, cyclothymia or other emotional disorder, or had a hereditary psychological disorder, or if there are many factors contributing to an excessive burden on the woman’s psyche, postpartum depression can be difficult and prolonged. It can last from several months to several years and go into a chronic form (dysthymia), accompanied by periodic relapses (exacerbations).
As you can see, postpartum depression is a serious condition that can harm the whole family, including a new mother, a baby, and even a new father. That is, if you notice any symptoms of depression, waste no time to take the necessary measures for its treatment. Stay healthy and encouraged!