Life isn’t the same for everyone – people fight silent battles, people go through unspoken pain. Most of the time, they look like the prettiest, even funniest, people in the room. Much like these people, new mothers also have the same strong and radiant aura as any normal person. And yet, they could be at war with their mind. This could be the start of postpartum depression or other postpartum psychiatric disorders.
Postpartum Psychiatric Disorders
Postpartum psychiatric illnesses can occur to women following childbirth and during their postpartum period of three months. For some, it may occur even after these three months. It’s not going to happen every time a woman gives birth, but it is a common concern that should be expressed and discussed among women, couples and the entire family. This is one way of providing support, not only for the newborn but for the mother as well.
The causes of postpartum psychiatric disorders could vary from:
- Physical and biological changes
- Social changes
- Emotional changes
- Hormonal changes or imbalance
- Mental stress
- Anxiety and depression
The vulnerability of a woman to these disorders depends on factors that affect the emotional or mental state of a mother following childbirth. Some of these factors are experience, stress during pregnancy, various emotions playing during and after pregnancy, trauma and even hormonal changes.
When women give birth, their hormonal levels experience a sudden drop
Postpartum Psychiatric Disorders are divided into three major categories from least to most severe cases; postpartum blues, postpartum depression, postpartum psychosis.
Most women of 50-80% experience postpartum blues. While it is one of the categories of postpartum psychiatric disorders, the emotions and experiences a new mother goes through are pretty normal. Any person can go through that same emotion, even the fathers who have supported their wives through pregnancy.
Most of the signs of postpartum blues involve:
- Random crying
- Missing the baby in the womb
- Missing pregnancy benefits and perks
- Missing the bump
- Panic and anxiety
Postpartum depression or PPD is the more known disorder. While it is not common among mothers, it is important to note that signs of PPD should never be ignored. PPD is more common for women who have faced depression earlier in their lives, even before pregnancy.
The symptoms of postpartum depression may vary from normal postpartum sadness to the severity of it. It is easier to see the effects of postpartum depression than postpartum blues and usually holds the same signs as general depression. Some of these symptoms are:
- Prolonged sadness or anxiety
- Sleep deprivation or insomnia
- Loss of interest in most activities
- Oversleeping and overeating
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of focus on activities or work
- Suicidal conversations and thoughts
This is the most severe form of postpartum psychiatric illnesses and the last of the three categories. Cases of postpartum psychosis are rare, following 1 or 2 in 1,000 women. Most of the signs and symptoms are:
- Severe suicidal actions
- Confusion and disorientation
- Hallucinations or delusional conclusions
- Aggressive behaviour towards others and self
- Erratic disorganised behaviour
- Signs of bipolar behaviour
- Obsessive-compulsive behaviour
6 Self-Care Tips For Every Mum
1. Join parenting or motherhood support groups.
There have been groups circulating on different social media platforms that help people adjust and cope with parenthood. The best thing you can do to look is to ask for recommendations from your doctor or other parents.
2. Take everything one step at a time.
You don’t have to do everything just because you’re no longer pregnant. Just focus on yourself and your baby. Everything else can wait.
3. It’s not your fault if you don’t have time for anything else.
If you find yourself already tired by the end of the day from looking after the baby and soon after yourself, end the night. It’s not something to be guilty about. You played your part as a mother well – you loved your child all day.
4. Yes, you can buy that dress.
Of course, you also want to buy something for your baby – but if you’ve already bought 5 things for the darling, it’s your turn now. Maybe, throw in a shirt for your husband, too.
5. Take that nap!
You’re not the only parent in the family – get that well-deserved nap. If your baby is sleeping, take a nap, too. If not, ask your partner to take an hour to look after your baby.
6. Don’t mind what other people think or say.
Whatever they say, it shouldn’t affect you even if it’s about you. Their issues are theirs to burden, it shouldn’t be yours, too. As long as you aren’t stepping on anyone, live with a smile on your face and love in your heart for all.
In A Nutshell…
Postpartum psychiatric disorders vary depending on the cases of the new mothers. Giving birth makes a mother go through plenty of changes, hormonal and obvious physical changes are just two of many more. If you are a new mum yourself, look after yourself. If others cannot, you have the power to do it.
What’s one self-care tip you would like to give other mothers who are suffering postpartum depression?