Talking about postpartum depression is never easy, even when it’s to the one we love the most.
Many women struggle with explaining postpartum depression to their partners, friends, family or other loved ones. It seems strange that we would allow ourselves to be vulnerable around our closest people, except when it comes to mental health. When it comes to explaining postpartum depression to our partners, having the right information is important.
This guest post by Betti Wilson is a summary of some of the best info about postpartum depression to help you communicate with your partner.
Description: A baby has just been born, and you expected that only joy and tenderness would overwhelm you. You would soar with happiness. Instead, you are overwhelmed by fears; all feelings have become aggravated to the state of bare wire.
What is postpartum depression and how it is detected?
Such increased emotionality is characteristic of many mothers in the first months after the child’s birth. Moreover, it’s not only a constant lack of sleep, the fact that your life has changed a lot, establish breastfeeding, look after the baby, etc. While your child is tiny and still very closely connected with you, your usual psychological defenses are weakening, and this is normal.
However, if time goes on and your feelings deepen more and more, you may have experienced postpartum depression or even postpartum psychosis. It does not mean at all that something is wrong with you or that you are weak. Instead, this condition can be considered as a physiological complication after childbirth, like a postpartum hemorrhage.
In this article, we will give you the postpartum definition, tell you what postpartum depression is, how to know its symptoms, and help you understand how to deal with it. The more you know about the condition, the better you will be at explaining postpartum depression to your partner or others.
What is postpartum depression?
Postpartum depression is a violation of the emotional sphere, because of which, in the first months after the birth of the baby, the mother experiences strong negative emotions. Below we list the main symptoms of postpartum depression. Postpartum depression can occur not only after the first birth. As a rule, it begins between the first and third weeks after childbirth. However, some women experience depression for a few months or even a year after giving birth.
If you are now in postpartum depression, remember that you are not alone. Your partner is likely more than willing to help you get through this. This condition is temporary, it should not be hidden, and when you get help, you will feel better.
Postpartum depression symptoms
To understand if you have postpartum depression or not, listen carefully to yourself. Here are the signs of postpartum depression:
- Depressed mood
- Very sharp mood swings
- Increased tearfulness
- Difficulties bonding with baby
- Separation from family and friends
- Increase or loss of appetite
- Persistent drowsiness
- Weakness and fatigue
- Decreased interest in everything you liked
- Increased irritability and outbursts of anger
- Fear that you are a bad mother
- Feeling of worthlessness, shame, guilt
- Difficulty concentrating
- Difficulties with doing routine activities
- Constant anxiety and panic attacks
- Thoughts about harming yourself or your child
- Repeated thoughts of death or suicide
What causes it?
It is still not fully known what causes postpartum depression. The reason is a combination of physical and emotional prerequisites. Among them are:
- Hormonal changes. After childbirth, the amount of pregnancy hormones — estrogen and progesterone — sharply decreases in the body. It can affect mood swings. The level of other hormones produced by the thyroid gland also decreases. That is why you can feel tired, depressed, and lethargic and you may experience postpartum hair loss.
- Permanent lack of sleep. The body needs to recover from childbirth. However, you need to take care of the baby, so few mothers can generally relax and recover. Lack of sleep can cause physical discomfort and a constant feeling of fatigue. Moreover, this, in turn, triggers all the other symptoms of postpartum depression.
- Emotional experiences. After the birth of a baby, a woman’s life changes dramatically. The body and self-identity are changing. It seems that your life has gone out of control and no longer belongs to you. All this, coupled with constant anxiety, also contributes to the development of postpartum depression.
How to deal with it?
Consult doctors with complaints of postpartum depression. They will tell you about possible treatment options, which include working with a psychologist and/or taking particular medications. These tips will increase the effectiveness of treatment and will contribute to your recovery:
- Rest, and sleep. Set aside all household chores, and take time and attention for yourself. If your baby falls asleep, do not try to do all things during this time. Try to go to bed and also sleep. Ask your partner to take over for you while you sleep.
- Simplify your life. Think about how and on what you could save energy and time? Do you often cook food for the whole family? It may be worthwhile to increase the volume and cook not every day, but a couple of times a week. Or make larger portions in advance and freeze them.
- Speak with your partner. The child belongs to both of you and even if your partner supports the family, part of the childcare will fall on their shoulders. Explaining postpartum depression will help them to understand what you are going through.
- Ask for help and accept it. All relatives live far away, and your partner disappears all day at work? You will be surprised, but help may come when you least expect it. However, it is essential not only to ask but also to be able to accept help. If you hear an offer to help you, do not rush to refuse out of politeness. Support can be very different.
- Take time for yourself. As you know, if a mother is happy, then the baby will be satisfied. Make sure to practice self care daily and don’t neglect your needs, even with a demanding baby.
- Stay in touch. Many mothers think that they suddenly found themselves in isolation, and they suffer from it. Make sure that the internet does not suck you in. Get acquainted with moms at the playgrounds, call friends to visit and do not be afraid to go out with baby. Found out are postpartum girdles safe and do not hesitate to go for a walk or to the gym.
- Separate responsibilities. Your partner will be happy to help you – you just need to ask him for support. Explaining how postpartum depression affects you will open up the lines of communication. They will be more willing to help take on some of the duties around the house. Even short breaks a couple of times a week will help you feel better.
Postpartum depression is not your fault. Unfortunately, many women feel guilty or feel ashamed. Some indeed encounter misunderstanding or condemnation from others. Remember that postpartum depression is a violation of the emotional sphere, which requires contacting a qualified specialist for help, like any depression definition. It is vital not to experience it alone and share with your partner. By explaining postpartum depression to them, you will feel more supported. Soon everything will be fine, and you will enjoy each new day spent with your baby.
Betti Wilson is a coach for moms and a mother of three kids. She studied baby, mother behavior, and now teaches moms to deal with all difficulties at the beginning of the new life.