By Joy Lydia Mercedes.
“My husband and i had for long tried having a child. And finally she was here. But instead of the joy that comes with it. I felt so sad. I felt guilty. I had no bond with my baby. I couldn’t hold her. It got so bad that I stopped breast feeding her. Many times I contemplated leaving home. I just couldn’t stand my new life.” Says Brenda anew mother.
Well Brenda isn’t possessed as many women tend to call it. She isn’t having a mental problem as many would allege. This condition is what is referred to as postpartum depression.
What is postpartum depression?
Postpartum depression (PPD), also called postnatal depression, is a type of mood disorder associated with childbirth, which can affect both sexes. Symptoms may include extreme sadness, low energy, anxiety, crying episodes, irritability, and changes in sleeping or eating patterns. Onset is typically between one week and one month following childbirth. PPD can also negatively affect the person’s child.
What causes postpartum depression?
Doreen Akurut a senior midwife at Mulago Hospital asserts that there is no clear Cause of this depression. But there are major factors that are attributed to it. These could include
Physical changes. After childbirth, a dramatic drop in hormones (estrogen and progesterone) in your body may contribute to postpartum depression. Other hormones produced by your thyroid gland also may drop sharply — which can leave you feeling tired, sluggish and depressed.
Emotional issues. When you’re sleep deprived and overwhelmed, you may have trouble handling even minor problems. You may be anxious about your ability to care for a newborn. You may feel less attractive, struggle with your sense of identity or feel that you’ve lost control over your life. Any of these issues can contribute to postpartum depression.
If untreated postpartum depression can interfere with mother-child bonding and cause family problems.
For mothers. Untreated postpartum depression can last for months or longer, sometimes becoming a chronic depressive disorder. Even when treated, postpartum depression increases a woman’s risk of future episodes of major depression.
For fathers. Postpartum depression can have a ripple effect, causing emotional strain for everyone close to a new baby. When a new mother is depressed, the risk of depression in the baby’s father may also increase. And new dads are already at increased risk of depression, whether or not their partner is affected.
For children. Children of mothers who have untreated postpartum depression are more likely to have emotional and behavioral problems, such as sleeping and eating difficulties, excessive crying, and attention-deficit, Hyperaction. Delays in speech and language development are more common as well.
How can PPD be prevented?
During pregnancy, your doctor can monitor you closely for signs and symptoms of depression. Mild depression can be managed with counseling or other therapies. In other cases, antidepressants may be recommended, even during pregnancy.
After your baby is born, The earlier it’s detected, the earlier treatment can begin. If you have a history of postpartum depression, your doctor may recommend antidepressant treatment or psychotherapy immediately after delivery.