Postpartum depression is a disease that should be treated with a mental health professional , since it could affect not only the mother but also the newborn.
It is supposed that the moment of pregnancy and childbirth are happy, therefore, many women live in silence the sadness they feel after giving birth.
Giving birth is work that can be strenuous, exhausting, and life-changing for a woman in general; However, society has made it more difficult for a woman to express what she truly feels during that moment, since the norm is that she “should” feel happy.
For this reason, many women keep quiet about what they feel and the condition worsens, when the best recommendation is to talk about it and seek help.
After giving birth, many women feel sad, but this usually disappears after five days. However, in some cases, the sadness is accentuated, prolonged and becomes depression.
Postpartum depression can affect a woman’s daily life, as well as caring for the newborn. If a woman who has just given birth is in a bad mood, cries a lot, is not interested in the baby, eats little or too much, sleeps little or a lot, cannot concentrate, feels overwhelmed, among other symptoms, she should ask for help.
This way of feeling can occur, especially when there are risk factors -such as unplanned pregnancies, not having the help of friends or family, being under 20 years old, being single, among others-, but it does not mean that the woman she is not a bad person or a bad mother, she just needs medical support.
Postpartum depression could occur in part due to the hormonal changes that women go through in this period, since progesterone and estrogen decrease when giving birth, in addition to thyroid hormones. With an examination this could be better specified in order to find a solution.
Tips for treating postpartum depression
In the first place, the woman with postpartum depression should see a medical professional who, perhaps, will indicate drug treatment accompanied by psychotherapy.
Some drug treatments are compatible with lactation, so the woman will have no problem continuing to feed her baby.
Therapy can also help in the process of coping with the new changes that have come to life, since the woman now assumes a new role and her previous routine is completely changed with the arrival of the new member of the family.
The support of the family is also important during this time, since the woman needs help to complete the routines that she had at home and to take care of herself.
It is necessary for the woman to talk about what she feels, without feeling ashamed, and ask for help if she needs it. Hiding your feelings won’t help anything.
Sleep is important, although the baby needs constant feeding and care during the first days of life, the mother can receive advice from a pediatrician to fulfill this task. It’s about establishing a new routine. In general, the woman is recommended to sleep when the baby does, so she can rest and continue taking care of him.
Although this moment is usually difficult, when there is a space of time, the woman can do some activity that she enjoys and that does not limit her in caring for the baby, such as watching a sunset, reading a little, listening to music, among others.
Talking with other mothers can also be helpful, and the woman can feel comforted in realizing that her feelings are normal. Learning from other mothers can be enriching.