Becoming a mother is an event that changes your life forever. You feel elated and filled with anticipation … and you can also feel anxious, scared and unsure. From the second you hold your baby in your arms you discover a love and connection like nothing you’ve ever known.
Some women don’t always feel that instant connection because they experience mood swings. One minute they’re on cloud nine and the next minute they are crying and have no idea why. Some new mothers may feel depressed, while others could lose their appetite, find it difficult to concentrate, or experience other symptoms. Often, these symptoms can start about 3 to 4 days after your baby’s birth and may last several days. As a new mom experiencing any of these symptoms …no need for alarm. This is called the "baby blues" which is a normal part of new motherhood and usually lasts about 10 days after the birth of your baby. Some new moms have more severe symptoms or symptoms that last longer. This is called "postpartum depression." And you are not alone. Many women experience this …including celebrities Marie Osmond and Brooke Shields who each went through this and wrote about their experiences. Many women get depressed right after giving birth, yet some don't feel "blue" until several weeks or months later. Depression that occurs within 6 months of childbirth may be postpartum depression. Postpartum depression is an illness and can be treated with therapy, support networks and medicines such as antidepressants.
It is important to recognize the correlation between post partum depression and violence aganst children.
Although any woman with postpartum depression can have fleeting, frightening thoughts of suicide or harming their babies, some women with rare postpartum psychosis experience these thoughts as urges they feel compelled to act on. If you think you can't keep from hurting yourself, your baby, or someone else, see your health professional immediately or call 911 for emergency medical care. You can also call:
If you have ever experienced any of these symptoms, you are more likely to experience Postpartum Depression:
No one really knows why women get Postpartum Depression for sure. Hormone levels do change during pregnancy and immediately after delivery. Those hormone changes may produce chemical changes in the brain that play a part in causing depression. For women who experience it, some will feel better within a few weeks. Other new moms feel depressed for several months. Moms who have more severe symptoms of depression or who have had depression in the past may take longer to get well. It is no one’s fault … new moms just need to get the right help. And help is available. There are support groups available, as well as medicines prescribed by your doctor. Of course when considering an antidepressant, speak with your doctor about the risks of taking an antidepressant while breast feeding. Your doctor can decide what is best for you while nursing your baby. The postpartum adjustment period can be a difficult one. Any new mom experiencing this needs the support, guidance and the company of other women and at times medical help. It is important for a new mom to feel as nurtured and supported. When you are feeling good and thriving … your baby will feel the same. You Can Help Yourself If you have recently given birth and feel sad, blue, anxious, irritable, tired or have any of the other symptoms mentioned above, it is important to remember that you are not alone and not "losing your mind" or "going crazy." You don’t have to suffer.
Rest - It's basic advice, but many moms ignore it. Downtime is important.
Get help around the house - If you cannot afford to pay someone to help you around the house, ask your husband, relative, friend or neighbor. It’s important to prevent the overwhelmed feeling that you can't leave the house.
Have a go-to person and a backup team - In most cases, your husband or another family member you’re your back-up but single moms should create an infrastructure before their delivery day.
Get exercise and eat right - Working out and eating a healthy diet can go a long way and will help you feel and look better.
NOTE: If you feel as though you are in an emergency crisis mode, please call your doctor immediately or go to the emergency room of your local hospital.
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