What is postpartum Depression and how to cope with it?

Postpartum Depression is a post-delivery depression wherein, a mother may not feel the desire to bond with her baby, which results in affecting her mentally and the mother may start feeling depressed, sad or hopeless due to the guilt of not being attached to her baby, or feeling like not caring for the baby.
Postpartum depression usually starts showing its symptoms within the first few weeks after delivery and may continue up to the six months. 
But, don’t be afraid if you feel you are a victim of postpartum depression. It is a common problem in first-time mothers, but not just restricted to them. Postpartum depression (PPD) is a clinical illness and not a character weakness. So, don’t get scared to share. Try visiting a postpartum depression consultant, to understand your problem better.
Although, the symptoms aren’t same for every mother, here are a few common symptoms that may help you detect postpartum:
  • If you feel sad and hopeless. 
  • You start crying a lot, for no specific or actual reason.
  • Not feeling like caring for your baby or continuing your usual daily activities.
  • You have trouble feeling close to your baby, or when you unable to bond with your baby.
  • Feeling a lack of interest in eating, lower sex drive, self loathing and losing interest in things you enjoyed earlier.
  • Always feeling sleepy.
  • Suffering from a lack of proper memory or focus. 
The causes for post partum depression are: 
  • Change in hormonal levels: This is like experiencing a severe form of PMS, the hormonal levels are high when you are pregnant, but post pregnancy, the hormone levels drop, which sometimes triggers depression. 
  • Not being pregnancy ready:  Usually young mothers, who are unsure about being able to take care of a child or aren’t ready for a baby end up with postpartum depression. Women who are not ready for pregnancy are most likely to be affected with postpartum depression. Financial issues, alcohol or drug abuses generally act as catalysts. 
  • History of depression:  Having a history of depression or if it is genetic, you are likely to be affected by PPD. 


How to cope with Postpartum Depression

  • Medication:  Doctors often prescribe antidepressants to cure depression and the same could be done with postpartum depression as well. The antidepressants can be consumed while breastfeeding too, but it is advisable to mention it to the doctor beforehand. 
  • Meditation:  You can try yoga and meditation to calm yourself. Yoga and meditation aim at providing peace and that can help combat depression. Mild exercising also poses as a great antidepressant, because it makes you feel fresh and activates the brain cells for better functioning. 
  • Get some ‘me’ time:  Give yourself some scheduled alone time may help you decompress and open up your nurturing side. However, your alone time shouldn’t turn into isolation. Get around a half an hour for yourself so that you can relax. Going for a spa or pampering yourself a little bit also refreshes your mood.
  • Surround yourself with the people you love: Isolation is the best friend of depression. Avoid being isolated for long periods of time, as it increases the anxiety levels and depresses you further. Instead, surrounding yourself with your loved ones proves effective in combating depression. Stay in a happy zone so that you feel happy from the inside too.   
  • Eat Healthy and Rest- Like all illness, depression is also an illness. So, you need to give yourself ample amount of rest along with maintaining a healthy diet. Remember to eat your greens and proper fruits and vegetables. Eating healthy food and getting proper rest is a great cure for any illness.
  • Book appointment with a consultant: Counseling is one of the most sought after remedy for PPD. Visit a postpartum depression consultant and share your ordeal. Counselors or therapists are of great help when it comes to depression. Sharing about your past issues or about your current problems may give you a better understanding of the cause. This could help you approach the problem in a more focused manner.
Vidhi Beri is a postpartum depression consultant  and specializes in mental health counseling. She provides structured classes on mental health program in which mental health counseling pre-and postpartum is woven into the program with the consideration that hormonal changes influence a woman’s state of being usually in a manner that is inexplicable to her. For appointments contact Vidhi Beri here