Advertising creates an image of joyful and cloudless parenthood, the gloss claims that motherhood is all about luxurious forms and beautiful hair, and parents who a year ago demanded grandchildren are surprised: “What did you want? Children, it’s hard.” Difficult is not the right word.
13% of mothers have depression, 9% have an anxiety disorder, and 3-5% have an obsessive-compulsive disorder. Women who have given birth with significant intervention and risk to life are likely to have post-traumatic stress disorder. Up to 12% of parents experience burnout. You need to talk about it, call things by their names and learn to manage such states. It’s time to realize parenthood rationally and compassionately.
Sometimes postpartum depression can lead to various addictions, such as alcoholism or drug addiction. In this case, it is important to find womens rehabs near me and get a qualified help from experienced doctors in women’s rehab centers.
Postpartum depression is not just sadness and tiredness after having a baby. It is a long-term depression that can become increasingly severe and endanger the care of the child, oneself, family relationships, health and even life.
This mental condition is currently called postpartum depression, because it begins mainly during pregnancy and worsens after childbirth. Women who give birth for the first time, teenage mothers and women with traumatic births are especially at risk.
How to distinguish depression related to the birth of a child from just the complications of motherhood?
It is not easy to understand that this is depression, and not fatigue and anxiety. But if postpartum depression is ignored, it can end in suicide, murder, or psychosis. It should be emphasized right away: it is not the woman’s fault that she is in this state.
If there are at least 2 of the 7 listed symptoms that last more than two weeks regardless of anything, it is most likely postpartum depression:
- Constant sadness and depressed mood.
- Things that once brought joy are not happy. After childbirth, it rarely happens that time for yourself or good weather is not pleasant. But if there is no joy from the long-awaited time for a series, a book, being alone is a very alarming signal.
- Sleep disturbance. Mothers sleep little, and there is no way to get enough sleep. Therefore, it is difficult to say whether there is a disturbed sleep – when the child sleeps, and the mother cannot – or not. But mothers should be allowed to sleep. This will both restore strength and indicate a possible disorder if it is not possible to fall asleep.
- Lack of strength and energy. Lack of sleep due to the constant care of a child, of course, takes away strength. And again, it is not normal that a woman rests little and is constantly busy. Therefore, young mothers, like all people, should get enough rest.
- Inhibition or excessive excitement. This is not typical for mothers, so slurred speech or constant fussing are bad signs.
- Feelings of guilt and worthlessness. International reviews say that these signs of depression rarely occur in women in labor, and if they do, it is peripartum depression. Although in our culture, the feeling of guilt in the mother develops due to social and informational influence. And this, of course, should be changed to support and understanding.
- Substance abuse and refusal to get women’s drug rehabilitation in any women’s rehab.
- Suicidal thoughts. They very rarely accompany motherhood, but often – a depressive disorder. Therefore, if a woman with a baby in her arms thinks that “it would be better without her”, this is very bad, and urgent help is needed. Mothers rarely talk about suicidal thoughts, but when asked directly, they usually confess, sources said. There are tests will help diagnose postpartum depression.
How to prevent postpartum depression
- Pregnant women should not only measure blood pressure and check for protein in the urine, but also screen for depressive disorder, know family history and history of previous depressive episodes. If there is depression, then you should make sure that it is not bipolar disorder (other therapy is needed). If there is psychosis – visions, hallucinations, changes in speech – then this is a reason for emergency help.
- Educational programs for young mothers (teenagers).
- Nurse/brother home visits, phone consultations, support, early cognitive-behavioral therapy (in case of traumatic childbirth).
- If a woman already had problems with alcohol or drugs before pregnancy, get help at a rehab for pregnant women.
- Pregnant women are not recommended to take antidepressants as a preventive measure – serotonin reuptake inhibitors have very little benefit and possible side effects.
- It is very important that the father/partner helps with child care and household chores. The example of Sweden shows that regular assistance from the father helped to reduce the need for antibiotics and anti-anxiety drugs in the first 3 months after birth.
How to treat postpartum depression
The first link is psychotherapy — it is effective for moderate depression. Cognitive-behavioral therapy and behavioral activation (you force yourself to do something good) are considered effective and proven. But in the case of severe depression, drug treatment with serotonin reuptake inhibitors is also required.
Yes, drugs can pass into breast milk, and there is a list of antidepressants that are considered safe for babies. Nevertheless, you should be careful if the child does not have excessive sleepiness or eating disorders. The protocol recommends starting medication therapy for depression in parturient mothers with half a dose, and gradually increasing the amount of the drug as needed.