If you’ve made it a habit to read the newspaper in the morning, we’re sure you’ve come across the news of a 27-year old mother in Nashik who slit the throat of her 14-month old baby girl because she was fed up with the baby’s cranky behaviour. While it is unfathomable for a mother to kill her baby, it is suspected that the mother was suffering from postpartum depression (PPD).
The cases of postpartum depression are becoming increasingly common. For the uninitiated, postpartum depression is linked to the chemical, social, psychological and physical changes that happen with having a baby. This happens because of the rapid drop in hormones after giving birth.
The levels of estrogen and progesterone increase multifold during the pregnancy and the fall sharply after the delivery. They’re back to the normal level by the third day after giving birth making it difficult for the new mother. The good news is that with the right medication and counselling, PPD can be treated.
The difficult part of it, however, is to successfully recognize the signs of depression timely and make yourself or your partner the treatment they need!
Here are 7 warning signs of post-partum depression you need to look out for:
1. Your ‘Baby Blues’ Do Not Go Away
It is common for mothers to experience ‘baby blues’ or a dip in their mood for the first few weeks after giving birth. But this feeling is supposed to dissipate within a few days. However, if you’re still feeling sad, low or hopeless even weeks later, or you feel the ‘baby blues’ are only getting more intense, it is time you paid a visit to the doctor.
2. You’ve Lost Interest In Your Hobbies
Remember that one movie that was an instant pick-me-up for you? Or how eating a certain food was guaranteed to put you in a better mood? If you find yourself withdrawing into yourself and losing interest in things you once loved to do, it could be a huge red flag. Another thing to be mindful of is your interaction with your partner. Do you like cuddling up with him now? Are you interested in expressing affection to each other? Take note of all these things.
3. You’re Constantly Guilty
Being a new mum comes with its ups and downs. You feel like you’ve taken on too much and ask yourself if you’ll be good enough every once in a while. But if you find yourself crying uncontrollably at all hours, feeling unhappy about being a mom or constantly feeling like a failure, it is a sign, and a crucial one, of PPD.
4. You Have Unpredictable Sleep Patterns
Nobody expects you to have the sleep pattern you had before the baby, that’s unrealistic. You will be up at odd hours taking care of it but if you can’t even rest when the baby is napping or you find yourself sleeping at all times, you might be depressed.
5. Decision Making Is Now A Task
Do you constantly feel too tired to think straight and make a decision? Or you feel like you just don’t care about anything. It could be as small as taking a shower or changing the diaper to anything bigger, but you just can’t decide what you want to do is a red flag you must take note of!
6. You’ve Just Gone Through Something Stressful
Is your partner supportive and helping you with the responsibilities? How has your family extended support during this time? The stress of taking care of a baby alone can be too much to deal with. Sometimes, this also triggers PPD.
7. You’ve Thought About Hurting Yourself Or The Baby
In some extreme cases, or in postpartum psychosis – a serious mental illness that happens due to postpartum depression, the mother feels so exhausted and tired of everything that she contemplates harming herself or the baby. If you feel your partner is considering hurting herself, or if you get to a point where you want to just end it all, seek help immediately and without delay.
Postpartum depression is a reality that almost 1 in every 8 women deal with. Getting help is absolutely necessary for it. Do not ignore these warning signs. After all, a happy mom makes a happy baby.