Having a baby can bring on several emotions and it is natural for mom and dad to have mood swings. However, these mood swings, or the “baby blues” usually goes away shortly after birth. If you notice your partner or loved one isn’t feeling better about a month after delivery, then they might have a postpartum mood disorder.
Postpartum depression may start during pregnancy or at any time up to a year after the birth of a child. Depression affects how a person feels and without proper treatment can last a long time. The person would feel sad, worthless, hopeless, guilty or anxious. The person might lose interest in things they used to enjoy such as enjoying the new baby. The mother or father may have frequent thoughts that they’re a bad parent or scary thought about harming themselves or the baby.
Who does it affect?
It can affect anyone. 8-12% of mothers will suffer from postpartum while it is less often to affect fathers. It can affect mothers who have already had children as well as adoptive mothers. It is caused by different factors that work together. These factors include family history, biology, personality, life experiences and the environment. One large factor that is after the environment factor includes sleep deprivation.
What can be done?
Remember that you will not be a perfect parent and things will be overwhelming but with treatment, support and recovery you can enjoy your family. There are two treatment options, which are counselling and medication.
The counselling includes cognitive-behavioural therapy that teaches you how your thoughts, feelings and behaviours work together. It teaches important skills such as problem solving, realistic thinking, stress management and relaxation.
Another counselling is interpersonal psychotherapy which focuses on relationships and can help people adjust to changing roles in their relationships.
Support groups are also very important. They can help you not feel alone and you can share your experiences with other mothers.
The other treatment option is medication, which is antidepressant. Antidepressants work in different ways for different people and there are different classes and types of antidepressants. Even though medication can help with the thoughts or beliefs of depression it is best to include counselling to help with your actions.
How you can help a loved one?
Postpartum depression is no one’s fault and a love one can play a big role in recovery.
- Make sure your expectation of what your love one is doing is realistic
- Do not compare your love one to another mother
- Let them have their space when needed
- Offer help with daily responsibilities and child care
- Talk to a doctor or public health nurse
If you feel you or are loved one has a postpartum mood disorder, please contact me and we can work together to develop the best treatment plan.
For more information: http://www.cmha.ca/mental_health/postpartum-depression/#.ViAnT9ahhUQ