Giving birth to a child can elicit a lot of strong emotions within you. You may experience fear, anxiety, excitement, and joy; all of which are perfectly fine, especially if it’s your first time being a mom. However, having a child may result in something unexpected – you may feel depressed. A lot of new moms experience this, even ones who’ve had a child before. This is why you should never question whether you’re a good mom or not. The feeling is not new, although it has long been called a different name: nervous breakdown. Gladly, with innovations in psychological medicine, this mental problem can now be identified and adequately dealt with. It’s called postnatal depression.
What Is Postnatal Depression?
Postnatal depression is a type of depression that involves mothers who recently gave birth. It affects 10 to 15 percent of new mothers. Most of the time, the symptoms are usually the same as with other kinds of depression. The symptoms last for at least two weeks, and depending on these symptoms, you may end up struggling taking care of yourself and your newborn.
There are a lot of reasons for postnatal depression; some are obvious, some are not. You may feel guilty or stressed for feeling this way; however, this can happen to anybody, and you shouldn’t feel it’s your fault.
When Does Postnatal Depression Occur?
The timing when postnatal depression starts is not definite. It can start from the first week after giving birth, or it can begin two months later. A lot of women have symptoms that arise during pregnancy and continue after giving birth.
What Is the Cause of Postnatal Depression?
There are a lot of probable causes for postnatal depression, and there are a lot of different events that may lead up to it.
You’re most likely to suffer from postnatal depression if you:
- Have experienced mental health issues before
- Have experienced stress or depression while pregnant
- Have not received support from your family and friends
- Have experienced a recent stressful incident
What Are the Warning Signs of Postnatal Depression?
If you have postnatal depression, you may suffer from one of these symptoms:
Experiencing sleepless nights.
Even if you’re feeling tired, it’s hard for you to fall asleep. You may end up lying awake at night, thinking of random things or listening for every sound even if your child is sleeping.
Experiencing changes in appetite.
You may experience a change in your diet, like a diminished appetite. You may forget to eat, or eat a lot and feel guilty about it.
Experiencing no joy in anything.
You may experience no joy in things that you used to do. You may even lose interest in hobbies or even with your child.
Most parents worry about their newborn’s well-being. However, if you have postnatal depression, your anxiousness increases tenfold or even more. You may worry about a lot of things about your baby or even about your partner.
You may feel sad all the time or even unhappy about a lot of things. You may even feel a lot worse at certain times at of the day, maybe during mornings or evenings.
You may feel irritable even over the smallest of things. You may get irritated with your baby, your partner, or other people around you.
A lot of new parents are often tired. However, at times you may experience more exhaustion than you ought to. You also lack the energy to care for your child and even feel too tired to start performing your parenting duties.
Feeling no interest in sex.
You may experience losing interest in getting intimate with your partner. You may feel it’s too painful to have sex at this time, or you may feel too tired to do it. Postnatal depression may take away your desire to be intimate.
Thinking of negative and guilty thoughts.
If you have depression, the way you think will change. You may think that:
- You’re not a good mother
- You don’t love your baby enough
- Your baby doesn’t like you
- You no longer look beautiful enough
- You’re not doing enough for your child
Thinking of suicidal thoughts
You may experience suicidal thoughts. You may think of harming your baby and other people.
You’re Not a Bad Mother
It’s not too late for you look and ask for help. Even if you are feeling the way that you do for a while, you will be able to get better. Some people can help you, the same people that we have here at Psychologist Southern Sydney. You can also ask help from your friends and family, and let them know how you feel. There’s a lot of people who have gone through what you’re going through, and a lot of them have survived through this and started enjoying being a parent. You can do this, too. It’s not your fault; you’re not a bad mother.