October 30, 2007

Post Partum Depression

A lot of women these days will experience a form of depression known as the baby blues after delivering a baby. It is generally seen just days after the birth and can last anywhere from 2 weeks to a few months. The signs for this can be, but are not limited to: crying, irritability, anger, exhaustion, tension, restlessness, anxiety, and possibly insomnia. Hormones play a large part in this however, some are normal and should be expected after delivery, particularly considering the stress and strain of a new baby. Fewer women will have true postpartum depression. This is generally characterized by a worsening of the normal symptoms, possibly postpartum panic or mania, even obsessive-compulsive disorders (including repetitive thoughts that might be repulsive). Some women will even experience post traumatic stress disorders, particularly after a traumatic birth. Some risk factors for PPD are as follows: Single parents, history of depression, anxiety, panic, obsessive thoughts or behavior, mania. Family history, marital conflict, prior episode, low confidence as parent, baby's personality, health or disability, super woman syndrome, or hormonal risks (thyroid imbalance, PMS, infertility, etc.). I think being a single mother makes it harder especially if you have a baby with colic that refuses to sleep and does nothing but cry. You may feel like you have nowhere to turn and it may appear that there is no relief in site because the baby is your sole responsibility especially if the father is not involved. There are many things that you can do to help ease postpartum depression. First, remember to take care of yourself. Take breaks, accept help from others, and nurture yourself. We tend to forget ourselves and become very absorbed in the baby. It is important that mom is well cared for too. This makes caring for the baby easier. Be realistic. Avoid major life changes. It's too much to ask to find a new job, move across the country and find a house within a month before the baby is born or right afterwards. Develop a support system. When someone calls and offers support, except it. This is a good thing, especially if you have problems requesting help, it can keep you organized. Getting support from a professional is not a bad idea either. You need to ask for help when following self-help plan and symptoms last more than 2-3 weeks, when talking feelings out with people does not help or if there is great difficulty with daily living. Remember that postpartum depression is very treatable. Find some ongoing support, make some plans, and don’t feel guilty asking for help. Do what you need to do but don’t take it out on the baby. It’s not their fault.

1 comment:

baby~amore' said...

Lori - this is great advice.