Postnatal depression (or post-partum depression) happens to up to 1 in 7 Australian mums The strong statistic is proof that it can happen to any new Mum Here are other things you need to know about it...
Commonly confused with baby blues, postnatal depression (PND) is a type of depression that mothers experience after giving birth. But unlike the baby blues, PND isn’t simply a feeling of being anxious, tired, or moody. It’s more severe than those fleeting emotions. PND is an illness that’s hard to shake off without professional and medicinal help. To open up the discussion, here are some of the root causes that can contribute to this illness’ development.
Postnatal Depression Causes
PND can be caused by several internal and external factors. It can start from yourself, your family, your friends, and even non-material things. Women with a history of any kind of depression have higher risks of experiencing it. Having relatives or ancestors who has postnatal depression records is another risk. PND is commonly caused by birth-related triggers such as the following:
- premature birth of the baby
- other baby health problems
- physical problems with the baby
- you were not expecting a child at all
PND isn’t triggered just by giving birth, and it can be triggered by the baby as well:
- irregularity in feeding and sleeping patterns of the baby
- difficulty in cooing the baby
- breastfeeding difficulties
- difficulty in adjusting to the post-baby biological changes in mums
As mentioned earlier, PND can be triggered by society and even non-material things:
- support from family, partner, and friends are almost never there
- relationship with new and existing families are difficult
- the mum is suffering from drug and alcohol problems
- the mum has experienced traumatic or domestic abuse
- financial, professional, and social problems are rampant
Postnatal Depression Treatment
There are several treatments available for treating postnatal depression in mums. These may either involve prescription medicine or natural solutions. So if your family, friends, or partner doesn’t support you with your childbirth and it’s causing you PND, you’ll be sure that medical experts can help you get through it using methods that have been tried and tested by several mum in the past. Here are some of the ways they can be treated both medically and naturally:
Talking with a medical professional such as a psychologist can help you get through this kind of depression. It’s not always that a friend or partner can understand what you’re going through especially if they’ve never experienced depression before. So find a psychologist today once you feel that the symptoms and the loneliness is too overbearing. Psychologists have several treatments in their arsenal to help you medically. These includes a series of therapies that can help you cope and understand your depression. Psychologists are not allowed to prescribe medicines, so if your depression is more severe, visiting a perinatal psychiatrist is recommended.
Once you’ve consulted with a perinatal psychiatrist, they will recommend different antidepressants. These antidepressants won’t make the sadness go away in an instant, but instead balance the hormones that are causing your depression if its nature is biological. Boosting your serotonin (or in layman’s term, your happy hormones) is what makes antidepressants effective. Be warned that not all antidepressants will make you feel less depressed. Some may have side effects. So as much as possible, be completely open with your psychiatrist about what each drug does and doesn’t do.
If you’re not on edge about visiting a psychologist, psychiatrist, or taking the antidepressants they can give you, try doing things the more natural way. Here are some of the best examples of healthy anti-postnatal depression remedies:
- Exercise at least 30 to 45 minutes a day
- Rest well (sleep for at least 7 hours a day or take power naps if 7 hours a day is impossible)
- Get help for taking care of the baby (so you can take naps or do the things you’ve been setting aside)
- Eat healthy (because everyone should and this can help balance your hormones better along with sleep)
- Socialise (Don’t be the kind of mum that becomes a hermit after childbirth. Get out of the house and mingle with your fellow mums who can understand your daily struggles)
Taking care of one’s self is the best key to avoiding the risks of postnatal depression. The only thing you must remember is to love yourself and your child by getting help when the PND is starting to become overwhelming. Be honest with your doctors about everything for them to be able to help you and provide more efficient services. Have you experienced postnatal depression or do you know someone who did? If you do, please feel free to share anything you’re comfortable sharing in a comment below. For more Mummy advices and stories, please bookmark our blog as there’ll be lots of exciting stories in coming months!