You must have surely heard the term "Baby Blues." It is used to describe a feeling of anxiousness and worry that most new mothers feel for a couple of weeks after giving birth. It is quite normal to feel this way; after all, the woman has just transitioned and acquired a new role in her life, i.e., the role of a mother.
But what if this anxiety and feeling of being pulled down last longer? What if it continues to build up? Baby Blues last for a maximum of two weeks. If the feeling persists, it is known as postpartum depression. Just like Baby Blues, postpartum depression is also quite common. First-time mothers are more likely to fall prey to it, and according to an estimate, around 15% of women experience postpartum depression after giving birth to their first child.
Postpartum depression comes with severe symptoms. It is a lot more serious than being worried in general. It is likely for all mothers to be worried about their child's health and think about how they can ensure that their baby remains safe and sound. But in this case, the symptoms of postpartum anxiety can be a lot more severe, to the extent that it can start having an effect on the mother's day to day life and normal functioning.
Here are seven symptoms that are an indication of the fact that a mother is experiencing postpartum depression:
The biggest symptom of postpartum depression is mood swings. The mood of the mother changes drastically. One minute she might be all happy and smiling, and exactly the next minute, she might feel like crying. There would be no apparent reason behind the change in mood. And the mother will have little to no control over how she feels.
Unlike other mothers, mothers will not be happy to see their baby. They might feel like they are unable to develop a bond with their baby. Touching the child or spending time with the baby does not promote any feeling of happiness in such mothers.
Some mothers also experience a loss of appetite as one of the symptoms of postpartum anxiety. The mother does not feel like eating. While some mothers experience loss of appetite, others report having an excessive urge to eat, which can lead to weight loss and further become a cause of depression and anxiety.
Postpartum depression takes a toll on the mother’s mental health. As a result, she is unable to think straight. Therefore, she ends up not caring about anything. From things that made the woman happy otherwise to the responsibilities of being a new mom, everything seems to take a toll and feels like a burden.
All mother fear that they will not be able to be a good mom. But the feeling is a lot of severe and persistent in mothers who are suffering from postpartum depression. The mother doubts her ability to be able to care for her child. She feels worthless and incompetent, which leads to a lot of anxiety and stress.
Some mothers are extremely fragile and vulnerable after giving birth. Therefore, they are unable to take control of their feelings and relax. Most mothers also fall prey to overthinking. Such mothers fall down a deadly spiral of depression that sometimes also compels them to harm themselves. Some mothers feel like harming themselves, while others have reported the same feelings for their babies.
Feeling tired and fatigued to the extent that they cannot get out of bed the entire day. At the same time, some other mothers suffering from postpartum depression struggle sleeping for even a couple of seconds. Sleep depreciation, as well as oversleeping, both situations are harmful and pose a threat to the mother's health and well-being.
Many symptoms of postpartum depression overlap with the responsibility of taking care of a newborn baby and Baby Blues. Therefore, it is important that you keep an eye on the mother. If the symptoms of Baby Blues seem to be continuing for too long, it is a red flag that it might be postpartum depression.
It is best to consult a therapist or a doctor upon the onset of the symptoms. The symptoms of postpartum depression escalate at a rapid rate, and it is soon after that the depression gets out of hand. Sometimes, talking to a friend or reaching out to a loved one also helps. When the person suffering is able to share their feelings, they can easily take control of how they feel and start thinking about things with a clear head.
In severe and extreme cases of postpartum depression, the doctor may also prescribe some medicines and relaxants to help the mother. Make sure that the prescription is followed strictly so the depression can be treated in the best manner possible before it reaches a point where the mother completely loses track of her thoughts and thinking patterns.
The family members and peers should also be supportive and understand that the mother is going through a lot. Therefore, they should be there for her and offer support; however, they can.
Postpartum depression is often treated as a taboo. In reality, it is a normal feeling. You have just embraced motherhood, and this is a new and exciting phase of your life. Therefore, feeling anxious and worrying about things is normal. But if the feeling of loneliness and anxiety starts building up and you start noticing visible symptoms of postpartum depression, do not wait to seek help.
There is nothing embarrassing about postpartum depression. Feel free to reach out to a doctor or a therapist so that you can get the help you need. The journey towards recovery may be a long and hard one, but don't worry. Take the first step, and you will soon find yourself at the end of the path.