Postpartum depression | Identifying, talking and tips for managing the baby blues

  • Neha Verma

    Clinical Psychologist

  • Posted On March 19, 2021

Motherhood completes a woman. When you hold the baby for the first time, it is the most amazing and precious moment of your life. You are the centre of attention throughout your pregnancy, and you get all the love, care, and affection to the core. Post-delivery, you start evolving as a mother by learning how to hold the baby, swaddle the baby, and latch and feed the baby. The arrival of the baby is accompanied by several rituals and functions planned at home. Once all this gets over, you might experience a sudden change in your mood or emotions.

What is Postpartum Depression and why it may occur?

Some mothers may experience a low or sad mood consistently across different situations. This may typically last for 2 to 3 weeks and subside automatically. But if this persistently low mood continues for more than a month, one needs to be cautious as this may be Postpartum Depression.

You should watch out for the following symptoms

  • Disturbed or sad mood
  • Feelings of anger and guilt
  • Hopelessness, don't feel like doing anything
  • Increased irritability or restlessness
  • Frequent crying

But more than just knowing about Postpartum Depression, it is essential to talk about it.

Why does the Postpartum Depression occur?

All of us pay attention to our physical health throughout pregnancy by focussing on what to eat, how much to eat and how to be physically fit by doing different exercises. But no one focuses on the mental health of a mother. Childbirth brings in lots of joy, but it does bring in a set of new challenges to be met. If you are not mentally prepared to face these challenges, you might end up developing Postpartum Depression.

Some of the most common changes that are likely to make you feel depressed post-childbirth are –

  • Sleepless nights
  • Long feeding hours
  • No outings, except for doctor visits
  • Changing nappies of the baby throughout the day
  • Lack of 'ME' time or 'personal time'
  • Lack of 'couple time'
  • And, most importantly, you being confined in four walls of your house

Primarily, we are not prepared for what is coming up next. The famous '40 days restriction period', as we commonly refer to it in India, can be challenging for a woman if she is not mentally ready for it. This is precisely the reason why most women end up developing postpartum depression.

Why take Postpartum Depression seriously?

If you are experiencing any or all of the symptoms mentioned above, you must seek professional help. Postpartum depression is a serious clinical condition and does require immediate attention. If it worsens, you might end up –

  • Hating your baby
  • Not taking care of the baby
  • Harming the baby and yourself

It might start affecting your marital relationship as well. Having said that, we are in no way trying to discourage young women from having a baby. Nothing can be more beautiful than having a baby. All of us pass through this phase, some manage to sail through it smoothly while some get stuck.

How to deal with Postpartum depression?

Firstly, it is essential to understand that this is a temporary phase, and it will pass. But you may have to make conscious efforts to let it pass. Secondly, you need to accept that it is very common and can be easily cured at the same time.

Based on my experience as a PregStar Psychologist, here are a few tips to help a new mother manage Postpartum Depression: 

  1. Never forget 'yourself' or your identity.
  2. Despite all restrictions, try to live your life to the best.
  3. Spend some time alone with your husband and relive the romance.
  4. Handling a newborn baby will never be a challenge if you do it together as a couple.
  5. Go out for dinners, short vacations, movies and drives.
  6. Embrace the new challenges with positivity.
  7. Take a walk in the fresh air outside your house with your baby every day.
  8. Do something creative while you are sitting and feeding the baby for those long hours at night.
  9. Read a book or watch a movie or listen to your favourite movie.
  10. Catch up on your sleep during the day time when your baby is fast asleep.
  11. Eat whatever is healthy for the baby but eat it mindfully to have a positive impact on your mind and health.
  12. Create a baby album and stick pictures of the baby's first turn around, first smile, first step and so on.

Do not confine yourself to those four walls. Instead, make the best out of this time which will never come back again. Most importantly, enjoy these initial months of your baby's growth. Capture those moments which you will cherish all your life.

The initial phase of motherhood is tiring and sometimes frustrating too. This little life is so much dependent on you for all their needs. Sustaining yourself without sleep and your confinement to a mundane routine of feeding and changing nappies is challenging to cope with. Postpartum is so natural with new moms, but you can cope with it if one is better prepared and ready to face this life challenge.

The more you break the barriers around you and talk about your mental health, the more aware you would be and will be able to make wise decisions. With the help of PregStar’s Psychology Program, you can get counselling & guided care for managing postpartum depression. 

Being a mother can be challenging, but don't be scared to ask for help. You are not alone! 

For more information, visit our website on https://www.fitterfly.com/pregstar or call us on +9122 48971077 (ext. 4).

Be aware, Be Positive!

References:

  1. https://www.medlife.com/blog/postpartum-depression-real-how-indians-fighting/
  2. https://speciality.medicaldialogues.in/22-of-new-mothers-in-india-suffer-from-postpartum-depression-who
  3. https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2020/01/15/794943944/a-lifeline-for-doctors-helps-them-treat-postpartum-depression
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Disclaimer: All information here, including text, images, tables, videos and any other content is for your knowledge only and we do not guarantee any specific result by following these recommendations as it may vary from person to person. The information is not a substitute for qualified medical advice from a doctor or other medical health expert.