Postpartum depression is a depressive disorder that occurs in about 10% of new moms. Most of new moms experience the "baby blues" – a mild form of depression – for short period of time. However postpartum depression is not "baby blues" and needs to be treated.
"Baby blues" is a term used to describe a short lasting and mild form of depression that occurs after child birth. Up to 80% of women experience some mood changes after pregnancy. This is expected and considered as a normal phase due to the physical changes in woman’s body and psychological pressure caused by motherhood.
During pregnancy the level of estrogen and progesterone increase greatly. After the child birth the amount of these hormones rapidly drops back to their normal levels. This rapid and substantial hormonal swing is more than enough for a woman to experience mood change.
Symptoms of Postpartum Depression
Persistent sad mood
Thoughts of death or suicide
Loss of interest in sex
Agitation or anxiety
Sleeping too much or too little
Feelings of guilt, hopelessness
If you are suffering from postpartum depression one thing you should not do is to feel guilty. Also if you have some improper thoughts toward the baby don’t beat yourself up over it. Of course if you feel that you are so depressed that you might act upon your disturbing thoughts you should immediately talk to a professional.
It is understandable that when our mind is clouded with depression we cannot think straight. Sometimes we can think something that we would regret later. Some depressed moms have disturbing thought about their babies.
It is important to know that that does not mean that they don’t love their babies but that they are depressed and they need help and understanding.
To some people especially fathers it is very hard to understand that their wife is deeply disturbed at the times that she should be very happy. When this is the case it is recommended that husband talks to a therapist so that he would learn how to support his wife.
Husband can play a major role in his wife’s recovery that is why he should be educated and well prepared.
The worst thing a husband or some other family member can do is to blame a new mom and make her feel guilty and bad. This kind of behavior can seriously prolong postpartum depression and make it more severe. Understanding and love are essential to a woman afflicted by postpartum depression.
Postpartum Depression Treatment:
Treatment of postpartum depression depends on the form and how severe it is. Psychotherapy alone is enough for mild and some moderate cases.
Psychotherapies that are widely used are cognitive-behavioral therapy and interpersonal therapy. These two therapies have a lot of success treating depression and have been around for quite some time.
In some moderate and most of severe cases antidepressants are very useful. Antidepressants should always be taken under supervision of a physician or some other professional. When taking antidepressants you should be in psychotherapy because antidepressants are not solution to your problem.
They are given to you so that you can be able to participate in psychotherapy and work on the cause of your condition. Your husband, family members and friends can play a big role in your treatment.
You can also join a postpartum depression group or some other support groups. Support is big part of any therapy and the more you can get the better it is.
Prognosis for Postpartum Depression
Prognosis for this disorder and depression in general, if treated, is very good. About 90% of patients get better and continue living their lives as they used to. Proper treatment consists of psychotherapy alone and in some cases psychotherapy and antidepressants together. Taking antidepressants alone, without psychotherapy is not a proper treatment and should be avoided.
Postpartum depression is not something to be ashamed of. It is a medical disorder that is treated very successfully. If you suffer from postpartum depression that does not mean that you are a bad mother or that you don’t love your baby.
However in order for your baby to experience your love and how good you are you have to face your disorder and start proper treatment.