Understanding Postpartum Depression
Postpartum depression is a specific, clearly defined psychological disorder. It is something women experience after giving birth, but not all women experience it. Most women feel a lack of energy and focus after giving birth, and many also feel somewhat down because of how their lives have changed, their lack of sleep and energy, and the loss of freedom that comes with having a child. This does not mean, however, that they are suffering from postpartum depression.
Postpartum depression will only be diagnosed if the new mother continues to have trouble focusing and functioning after a prolonged period of time, especially if it seems the baby might be suffering from the mother's condition. This form of depression can hit a new mother any time during the first year after giving birth. It does not have to happen right away in the first few weeks. Women who suffer from bi-polar disorder or other types of psychiatric disorders will find that they are more subject to getting postpartum psychosis, but it is still rare in that out of every one thousand births, one or two will end up with this problem.
It would be a good idea for all soon to be mothers to learn about postpartum depression so they can understand the signs and symptoms of the disorder. This way, they will be able to spot a problem sooner rather then later. The sooner a person gets treatment for their postpartum depression, the better off they, and everyone else involved, will be. There is nothing to be ashamed of by getting help as all women are at risk for this type of depression and with help, you are doing yourself a lot of good.
If you feel that you may be suffering from postpartum depression, seek help from your doctor right away. Depending on how severe your case is, your doctor may set you on a treatment plan and provide you with some helpful tips to manage through your day. Some good ideas for helping to cope with postpartum depression include getting rest whenever you can, such as when the baby is resting. Also, do not be afraid to ask your spouse, family, or friends for help with the household chores so that you are not putting too much pressure on yourself.
Make sure to also give yourself some quality time alone with your partner so that you can have some relaxing adult time without the baby crying for you. Talk to other mothers, both the experienced and new, in order to vent your frustrations and feelings. This is an excellent way to learn that you are not alone in your struggles with postpartum depression and they may be able to help you with some ideas for getting your life back on track. Whatever you do though, try to avoid spending too much time alone as this is not good for anyone suffering from postpartum depression, no matter the type it is.