Postpartum depression is depression that sets in, in relation to pregnancy and childbirth. It is for real but the good part is that it is a temporary condition that can be treated with proper care and counseling. The initial symptoms may manifest as tearfulness, anxiety, trouble sleeping well etc. If you are pregnant or have just delivered a baby and are wondering what PPD is all about, what its signs and symptoms are, this is what you need to know and read:
PPD manifests in different ways for different people and while one may experience 5 of these symptoms, some others may have all of them. If you have any one of them, do consider speaking to your doctor about it and reach out for help.
- Motherhood seems to overwhelm you and you feel like you have been caught unawares in a vicious cycle that you can’t seem to get out of. You feel you will never be able to do this and being a mother was a wrong decision.
- You don’t feel attached to your baby. The mother baby bond is simply non-existent. You feel frustrated because this responsibility has been give over to you when you are absolutely not ready for it.
- Feeling confused with new responsibilities is natural but if you are feeling uncontrolled rage towards your baby or your partner, if you are always puzzled even while carrying out your usual activities, you could speak to your doctor and seek help.
- You seem to have lost sleep; even if your baby is sleeping, you can’t bring yourself to having a restful sleep because the uncertainties of future keep haunting you.
- You always feel unattached with everything around. You are disconnected, seem to forget what you are saying mid-way, cannot take a decision, and can’t focus on things.
- You have had suicidal tendencies.
- You have felt like leaving the family and escaping.
- You feel you are losing your mind and people around you have noticed your problems too
- You have felt like harming the baby and/or have harmed him/her in any way already.
- You used to be an alcoholic before and your body is craving alcohol yet again but the unavailability is making you insane with rage.
What Can You Do?
If you feel that you have any one or more than one of the above-mentioned signs and symptoms, you should speak to your doctor right away. If he diagnoses it as ‘baby blues’ then a little support at home and with the baby will be of immense help but if you are diagnosed with PPD, he/she will refer you to a counselor to help solve your problems.
If at any time, you seem to get hallucinations or other disturbing thoughts, let your doctor know about it because this could mean postpartum psychosis1 and needs to be taken care of right away.
In between, you could also join online support groups, speak to mothers who have emerged successfully from PPD and get their help and stay positive through this phase.
Remembering that PPD is a common phenomenon and you will never be judged for it, helps a good deal.