Managing Postpartum Depression
Through the journey of pregnancy, your body goes through many physical and psychological changes. While there are many rewarding factors of pregnancy, your body experiences a lot of stress during this process. These changes can cause depression to occur, leading mothers to feel a lack of care for themselves or their children. With the emotional stress that occurs during pregnancy, this depression is often caused by a build-up of emotions.
What Is Postpartum Depression?
Postpartum depression is when a new mother has depressive thoughts or feelings during or after pregnancy that last for at least two weeks. If these feelings become persistent, it is important to get help immediately to ensure the safety of yourself and your child.
Signs and Symptoms
Severe depression can occur after childbirth. This can also happen after stillbirths, miscarriages, or death at birth. If you run into any unusual obstacles in your pregnancy journey, you may be more at risk for developing postpartum depression and should carefully watch for the signs and symptoms that may occur:
- Mood swings
- Increased levels of crying
- Difficulty sleeping
- Social withdrawal
- Feeling distant from your child
- Extreme worry
- Doubting your abilities
While fathers don’t give birth, they may still have the responsibility of caring for the child in the same nature as the mother. They can also become sleep deprived, fatigued, and overwhelmed with the life changes a new baby brings. Key risk factors for men include having a history of depression, becoming a father at a younger age, having financial struggles, working through relationship issues, or having their first child.
What Causes Postpartum Depression?
Postpartum depression is caused ultimately by the state of pregnancy, however, many factors play into the role of postpartum depression occurring at this time. As previously stated, the physical and emotional struggles alone can lead an individual into a state of depression. New mothers often experience high levels of stress during pregnancy, as there may be many unknown factors in their future. This stress often leads to sleep deprivation and a lack of self-care, opening a prime state for depression to arise.
Postpartum depression can also occur after the baby is born. Even after childbirth, your body goes through a lot to sustain the life of your newborn child. Childbirth itself is physically and mentally exhausting, causing an immediate need for relief along with a newborn to watch over. Breastfeeding can also be painful for mothers and take a great deal of their time, causing these emotions to heighten. Through the stages of pregnancy and after childbirth, your body is going through drastic hormonal changes which can disrupt your ability to emotionally regulate.
After becoming pregnant, your life is inevitably changed for the rest of your life. As your regular lifestyle is completely adjusted, your main priority now becomes your child. While these changes may be full of excitement and love, change can also be stressful. This extra stress often leads individuals into a state of postpartum depression.
Managing Postpartum Depression
There are many ways to manage postpartum depression if you notice this becoming a potential issue. Reaching out to a trusted loved one or your doctor should be your first step. You don’t need to go through this alone.
If you notice any of these signs or symptoms during the time of pregnancy, it is important to seek professional help. Discussing your potential concerns with your doctor can help address these issues early on and prevent them from developing into a deeper state of depression. There are many resources you can use to overcome these obstacles and professionals willing to help you through this process.
When encountering these symptoms, we recommend you reach out to your support system to seek validation and advice. Discussing your concerns with your support group can help you release your emotions and relate to others on the challenges of parenthood. Understanding that these concerns are normal and receiving validation on your ability to successfully care for your child can help you overcome this state of negative emotions.
Bond With Your Child
As a new mother, bonding with your child can create a feeling of ease and comfort when it comes to parenthood. If you are dealing with postpartum depression, bonding with your child may be hard. Bonding with your child can help you to be more in tune with their emotions and better understand their needs. Your connection with your child doesn’t start when they can verbally communicate with you. It starts as soon as they are conceived. Finding ways to connect with your child immediately can help reinforce your importance in that child’s life and help you find your potential.
Care For Yourself
With all the responsibilities of being a new mother, self-neglect can easily sneak up on you. While you are entering a new era in your life that requires you to cater to the demands of your newborn child constantly, it can be easy to push your needs to the side. Incorporating time for self-care into your new daily schedule can help prevent the feeling of burnout and prevent postpartum depression from occurring or worsening.
Postpartum depression is commonly experienced when having a child, especially if you have a pre-existing psychological condition. While postpartum depression is possible to overcome, there are many dangers involved if not properly treated. These dangers can not only affect yourself but your newborn child as well. Understanding the signs and symptoms of postpartum depression and being aware of its potential can help you implement techniques to cope with these emotions immediately. If you notice any of these symptoms arising, seek help immediately. Some of the most important aspects in managing postpartum depression are to work on increasing the bond between you and your child and implementing regular practices of self-care. Incorporating these practices into your daily schedule will help keep you and your child healthy. To learn more about postpartum depression and how to manage it, call Spero Recovery for help at (303) 351-7888.