Also known as Post Partum Depression, PND usually occurs a few weeks after birth, but can also begin at any phase of a woman’s life. This situation is a lot more common than most people know and should be treated as a serious illness that requires urgent care.
PND is different from baby blues which every woman passes through at one point or the other. Baby blues which is accompanied by weepiness, tiredness, anxiousness and the like after delivery usually passes after a week or two; PND continues for much longer.
Some common symptoms of PND include
- Sadness and depression
- Tiredness, listlessness
- Sense of guilt
- Social withdrawal
- A sense of frustration & exhaustion
- Low self esteem
- Inability to be comforted
While these symptoms may have been experience by almost all mums, continuous display of these symptoms could signal PND. PND affects mother and child relationship as the parent is unable to offer committed and loving care to her baby. It also affects child development.
What could put you at risk for PND?
- Previous stillbirth and miscarriage: The fear & sadness from a previous loss can return to grip mothers few weeks after birth. Fear that it might happen again and sadness of the life lost prior to a new baby can kick start PND making it hard for parents to enjoy snd love their new baby
- Infant illness/complications: For mothers of children born with complications that demad intensive care and prolonged stay in the hospital, anxiety, fear, hopelessness and misery can develop.
- Poor marital relationship: Lack of support from a partner can generate feelings of loneliness and sadness that may lead to depression
- Unwanted pregnancy: Lack of support from family and friends, stigmatization by society may all lead to feelings of rejection and lack of self worth for mothers in this situation.
- Poor socio economic status / financial problems: Adding financial stress to birth stress and newborn care may overwhelm some mothers
- Childcare stress: Long hours of care for a newborn accompanied by little sleep and birth pains may make it hard for some mothers to cope
- Birth related trauma: this includes physical (e.g. tearing, surgery)and psychological (long, complicated labor) trauma
- Poor social support: Especially from friends and family
- Violence within marriage or society
How can you overcome PND?
- Talking to someone about it usually helps. Letting go of strong feelings bottled up inside can cause relief and give a sense of control back to the parent. In the absence of qualified therapists or group therapy, take advantage of your partner and close friends and talk to them.
- Get lots of rest when your baby is sleeping. This will reduce tiredness, irritability and anxiety.
- Eat a good balanced diet
- Exercise While it may be the last thing on your mind, exercise will make you feel better inside and as your fitness and pre baby body returns, you begin to feel better about yourself
- Meet other mothers. You will be surprised at how many people who are going through the same challenges and facing even worse. Other mothers can relate to the issues your facing and guide you through them
Photo Credits: Telegraph UK
This article was written by me exclusively for mamalette.com.