The birth of a new baby is publicized to be a very happy time for the mother, but the truth is a significant number of mothers experience postpartum depression. The exact cause of this condition is hard to pinpoint. Hormonal changes and lack of sufficient sleep are key factors, but there is more to it. The most important thing for new mothers to understand is that postpartum depression is not their fault or linked to actions they did or did not take during pregnancy.
It is easy enough to understand how a new mother, and especially a first-time mother, might feel overwhelmed by the challenge she faces. Family and friends expect her to be overjoyed at the new addition to the family but her instead of being upbeat she considers herself poorly suited to motherhood. It is quite natural to experience these kinds of emotions now and again, but postpartum depression makes her feel in this low state much of the time. It is extremely difficult for her to see the light at the end of the tunnel and this despair aggravates her condition.
A desire for social isolation
Normally you would expect the new mother to take delight showing off her baby to family and friends. If she is suffering from this kind of depression is it more likely she will want other people to leave her alone. After the birth, she needs more time to rest and sleep, but her anti-social feelings go far beyond this level. It is yet another sign of the emotional and mental turmoil that she is experiencing.
In its most extreme manifestation, postpartum depression can cause the woman to have suicidal tendencies. A sense of unworthiness could combine with a desire to escape from the challenge through suicide. While a considerable number of women with this illness may have such thoughts in a passing sense very few are going to attempt anything. Nevertheless, nobody can know the workings of their minds in the depths of depression. Even a remote possibility of self-harm must be treated seriously, and the appropriate precautions are taken.
Lack of bonding with the baby
Sufferers from postpartum depression frequently find it very difficult to bond with the newborn baby. Often it does take time for the mother to bond with the child in this way even if she is not depressed, but this is something much more severe than the normal delayed bonding. The mother is dismayed when she remains emotionally detached without that powerful affection she longed to feel. It is possible that she will not want to be involved in caring for the baby or even not want to see him or her. An experienced hospital staff should know how best to handle these delicate situations.
The angry mother
New mothers can sometimes be very irritable. They might react with unusual anger to a seemingly innocent remark from a family member. Or they could take out their frustration on the hospital staff. One extreme manifestation of this anger focuses on the newborn. After all, the newborn child is directly responsible for them being in this predicament. Since a deeply depressed mother could potentially harm her baby, the doctors and nurses must be alert to what she is going through and take whatever precautions proved necessary.
Tears after birth are to be expected, but if the new mother seems to cry constantly and will not calm down, she is probably suffering from postpartum depression symptom. She has effectively lost control of her normal emotions, and this continual crying is the outward expression of her inner problem. Her condition requires a great deal of understand and compassion. Experienced hospital staff will advise on the best approach to follow.
Closed to all logical reasoning
When a woman is so clearly depressed the natural actions of those around them is to try to get her to see the brighter side of life. While this may work in many situations if she has postpartum depression, it is impossible to reassure her. Continued efforts to reassure her may have the opposite effect. Instead of finding comfort in the words of family and friends she finds their reassurances insincere.
Difficulties getting to sleep
Nobody expects a new mother to have an easy time getting to sleep. New babies need regular feeding and whether she is breast or bottle-feeding she needs to interrupt her sleep to attend to the baby’s needs. This takes a physical and emotional toll from any woman. If she gets a postpartum depression, she might often oversleep, or be unable to make use of the time when the baby sleeps to catch up on her sleep. The lack of sleep only serves to aggravate her mental problems.
A powerful sense of guilt
The fact that this woman finds it so hard to cope after birth leads to her feeling very guilty. Consequently, she might try to hide her true feelings from family and friends. Hiding information that reveals her depressed state can only worsen her situation. If people around her don’t understand what she is experiencing they will be unable to give her the support she requires.
It is common to draw a line demarking physical and emotional pains, but today many medical experts argue they are interconnected. In addition to the negative mood and antisocial behavior issues, the women with postpartum depression might suffer from regular headaches. They could also start to feel pains in their muscles and the stomach area. Doctors need to investigate these pains to ensure that there is no physical damage sustained during the birth. If everything seems to fine in this area suspect a link to depression.