Post Partum Depression - Information and Forum for Support

Post Partum Depression is Real ...

Giving birth is a wonderful time in the lives of women but its aftermath can create a time of confusion, anguish and mood swings. Mothers who have just given birth can go through emotional twists and changes that leave them in a state of depression that is difficult to deal with. Postpartum depression is not just a “letdown” after the birth of a child. This is a change in a mom's thinking and reactions that is caused by rapidly shifting hormones. Hormones create changes in the brain and the way it works.

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There is research that suggests postpartum depression may have a genetic basis. It does seem more likely to occur in women who have mothers or sisters who have had the disorder. Those who suffer from symptoms of extremely severe premenstrual disorder also are likely to experience post partum depression. If a woman has been suffering from depression prior to giving birth, or has family members who have been diagnosed with mood disorders, there is also an increased risk of her having to deal with this disorder.

Women who have postpartum depression are often successfully treated with natural remedies or prescribed medications (keep in mind that drugs have side-effects, so you may want to seriously consider using something natural that works just as effectively without the side-effects). Psychotherapy, or having a qualified mental health therapist to talk with, may be of benefit to most women. If the depression is more severe, either natural remedies or medication and psychotherapy may be required. In rare instances, inpatient treatment may also be temporary.

Post Partum Depression: Baby Blues Occur Frequently

Up to 80% of all new mothers have an emotional downswing a few days after childbirth. This type of mood change is both mild and temporary. This reaction occurs as a result of hormonal changes that are happening swiftly. With the baby blues women can have crying, anxiety, and sadness. They may be irritable and doubt their ability to cope with the new infant.

Some women may even yell or scream at their husband or other family members over some small incident. These types of behaviors usually appear a few days after the woman has given birth and they resolve in just a few weeks. Be prepared for this by having natural remedies on hand that will stabilize moods and help counteract any hormonal issues. Despite these symptoms, women who have the baby blues are able to continue with their lives in a normal manner and care for their new babies in a healthy manner.

Post partum Depression Is Much More Serious

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It is now known that the type of depression that affects about 10% of females who have given birth can be quite serious. This is not a normal occurrence and while the symptoms can start at about the same time as the baby blues, there are some serious differences. Women who have postpartum depression may suffer from the effects of this disorder for months. The behaviors and emotions of postpartum depression are much more significant and long lasting than “the baby blues”. It has even been shown that the symptoms of postpartum depression may not be apparent for up to a year after giving birth.

Symptoms that may indicate postpartum depression include:

  • Overwhelming feelings of being tired

  • Inability to take care of home, children or self

  • Hopeless feeling

  • Feeling trapped with no way out

  • Crying jags that can’t be stopped

  • Can not show interest in the baby

  • Manic behavior, mood swings

  • May have thoughts of injuring self, baby or others

With postpartum depression there are usually more than 1or 2 of these behaviors or emotions present. Women and even their family members may try to hide these problems or deny them.

Post partum depression interferes with the new mother’s ability to care for herself, her family and her new infant. There is an inability to bond correctly with the child. These mothers love their babies, but the feelings of inadequacy, failure and exhaustion are just too great to overcome on their own. Family members will see that something is wrong but may make excuses or deny the problem. Help is available and the problem can be treated. As mentioned before, natural remedies and drugs can help.

Postpartum Psychosis Requires Immediate Intervention

  • Infanticide is more common in postpartum psychotic episodes that include hallucinations and delusions. It can, however, occur with particularly severe postpartum depression.

  • There are a small percentage of females who endure postpartum psychotic episodes that may end in infanticide.

With postpartum psychosis a new mother may harm her new baby and herself. She could also become a danger even to her other children. It is hard for some people to understand that a mother could be capable of this type of behavior, but it happens. These mothers are undergoing a break with the real world and while they love their children, their thoughts and behaviors can endanger their children if they are experiencing a psychotic episode. This type of postpartum event requires immediate medical help and intervention.

Treatment is Available for Women

Post partum depression is not an embarrassment and it is nothing to be ashamed of. New mothers need help to deal with the feelings that have taken over their lives. Without proper treatment these emotional problems may begin to worsen. Do not leave your loved ones to find their way alone in the dark. If you or someone you love has been experiencing any of these emotions after the birth of a child, please seek help now.

With help and treatment postpartum depression can be overcome. Women and their families should discuss the problems with their doctor or a mental health specialist. Psychiatrists and some psychologists can both offer help. Treatment may include a physical checkup, mental evaluation, medication, support group, psychotherapy or other psychiatric intervention modalities. One phone call will get you in touch with caring people who will help new mothers and their families find their way back to a healthy, normal life.

Laura Ramirez is the author of the award-winning parenting book, Keepers of the Children: Native American Wisdom and Parenting. The book teaches parents how to overcome negative aspects from their upbringing and raise children to develop their unique strengths, so they will act from strength and integrity as adults.

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