A newborn baby is a miracle. A true joy. Becoming a mother is a life-changing experience that most women will never forget. It can sometimes feel overwhelming to some women. The nine long months of pregnancy and often painful labor and delivery has produced this little person who you feel you should fall instantly in love with- but you didn’t. What can you do and why do you feel like this?
Post-partum depression is a term that even twenty-five years ago, many people were uninformed about. Depression is something that many still whisper about as if it is something to be ashamed of. A woman’s body goes through a major hormonal change during pregnancy and then at delivery. Add to that a woman who may have had previous bouts of depression and the result can be PPD.
Some pregnant women feel so much pressure to be the “perfect” mom. Even if no one around them is expecting it, they have put the pressure on themselves. There is no perfect mom. Everyone makes mistakes. The idea of what a Mom should be is often a self-sacrificing superwoman and many times, women cannot live up to that expectation.
Pregnancy isn’t just about the hormonal changes, there are changes in your body that can make you feel awful. If you happen to be in an unhappy relationship, that can affect you during and after your pregnancy. Believe it or not, sometimes your moods during your pregnancy can affect your unborn baby.
When the baby is born, some mothers may feel the symptoms of PPD right away. They may feel uncomfortable around their baby and feel guilt because of it. They may hide the way they are feeling but spend a lot of time crying and being irritable. For some new mothers, symptoms can happen weeks or even months later. Taking care of the baby becomes overwhelming and they may have thoughts of hurting the baby or themself. They are afraid to share how they feel. Guilt of how they are feeling is a huge part of PPD. The idea is that how can a woman not fall in love with a beautiful little newborn baby?
Sometimes when people suffer from depression others will ignorantly think or comment that their life seems so good, what can they possibly be depressed about? It is not about being able to control your thoughts. Depression is believed to be a chemical imbalance in the brain. This causes the sufferer to have feelings of guilt, excessive need for sleep, loss or increase in appetite and sometimes thoughts of suicide. It cannot be controlled by will and just because you should feel happy because you just gave birth doesn’t mean that you can make the symptoms of PPD go away.
A woman needs to know that others have suffered from post-partum depression and have been treated successfully. She needs to tell her doctor or someone else how she is feeling in order to get help. If you know a new mother who is acting out of character with her newborn, confront her. If you know her well enough, you can tell if her behavior is abnormal. You could be saving her life, her baby’s life or both by bringing up this subject. PPD is treatable.
For more information and where to get help use the following link: