Most new mothers are now showing some form of depression after birth. Usually, postpartum depression is not thoroughly discussed in childbirth classes where new mothers enroll for motherhood education. Such classes are only limited to the discussion of the mother’s physical recovery and taking care of the baby. Due to the lack of information, many new mothers do not have an idea and are not prepared for postpartum depression, which can feel like an emotional roller coaster. By being aware of the range of depression disorders that may arise during post-pregnancy, new mothers can better prepare for the overflow of emotions and, in the process, help their families cope with the challenges of childbirth-related emotional changes.
According to statistics, 80 percent of new mothers tend to have “postpartum blues.” The symptoms often start two days after giving birth as the hormones of pregnancy suddenly starts to fluctuate and adjust to meet the new baby’s constant demands. These mothers will experience extreme mood swings, and can manage these by self realization that these emotions are just based on hormonal shifts and fatigue. The best coping strategy for mothers use in dealing with postpartum blues is to have ample rest. These mothers need sleep for both physical and mental recovery. Adding to this, mothers should have a nutritious and balanced diet, plenty of fluids, and enough light daily exercise. By registering and joining new mother support groups, mothers can find great ways to share experiences and find mutual support with others who have postpartum blues. Most mothers with postpartum blues do not need medication, but can get relief from other forms of therapy such as acupuncture. Such condition generally resolves the emotional condition in about two to three weeks after birth.
Some women can develop postpartum anxiety disorders such as GAD (generalized anxiety disorder), OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder), and panic disorders. Mothers experience excessive worry or anxiety, repetitive compulsions, or extreme anxiety with chest pains, dizziness, sweating, and many other symptoms when dealing with disorders named above. Women dealing with these disorders would frequently have attacks early in the morning with chest and stomach pain, followed by emotions of concern and despair for the baby. Together with good eating habits, rest and exercise, mothers could also go for relaxation exercises, support groups, counseling, and use of anti-depressants.
When dealing with postpartum psychosis, one should be able to distinguish signs of depression from other more symptoms of anxiety disorders. A mother experiencing postpartum psychosis would have hallucinations or delusions. This kind of psychosis may not be noticeable to family members since there would often be periods when a new mother may seem fine and also show periodic changes in behavior.
When a new mother is suspected of having a psychosis, most likely, her judgment would be impaired and she shows irrational behavior. In such cases, both the mother and the baby are not safe. Though rare, psychosis should be treated as an emergency. The mother suffering this psychological condition would usually respond to medication. In other cases, the new mother needs to be confined to a hospital or treatment center.
In knowing all these, new mothers should not worry about having postpartum depression. All these disorders can be managed or treated with medication and therapy. With enough information, new mothers and their families can find relief from the depression and stress that comes with the physical, emotional, and hormonal changes that come with childbirth.