Postpartum depression is one of the more common ailments experienced by mothers who had just given birth. PPD happens to men too, but is more commonly seen in mothers. It is a form of major depression that has its onset within 4 weeks after delivery, and those affected sees a complex mix of physical, emotional, and behavioural changes in themselves. It is also linked to chemical, social, and psychological changes associated with having a baby.
Symptoms of postpartum depression
- Difficulty sleeping
- Appetite changes
- Excessive fatigue
- Decreased libido
- Frequent mood changes
- Major depression
- Depressed mood
- Loss of pleasure
- Feelings of worthlessness
- Hopelessness and helplessness
- Suicidal thoughts
- Thoughts of hurting someone else
Will I be affected by postpartum depression?
While it is difficult to ascertain if someone will have PPD, there are certain factors that will increase the risk:
- a history of depression prior to becoming pregnant, or during pregnancy
- younger people are more likely to have PPD
- ambivalence about the pregnancy
- the more children you have, the more likely to be depressed
- having a history of depression or premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)
- limited social support
- living alone
- marital conflict
How to cope with postpartum depression
Having PPD doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world. There are some tips to help you cope, and of course, specialists will be there to treat you.
Be realistic about your expectations of motherhood and don’t hesitate to ask for help if needed. It’s also not advised to stay cooped up at home, so take a break by going out for a brisk walk or do some light activities. Follow a healthy diet and avoid alcohol as well as caffeine. Although your baby can consume all your time, make sure to make some time for your partner and keep in touch with friends and family. Don’t isolate yourself but do limit visitors. You don’t want to tire yourself out so get as much rest as you can!