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Post-partum depression is one of the most common and least acknowledged states of mind that occurs at the most vulnerable of times in life.
Clinically post-partum depression is defined as ”A form of severe depression during last trimester or post-delivery that causes sadness or anxiety in performing day to day activities. It can occur even till 2 years after childbirth and causes feelings of sadness, lack of interest in life and day to day activities , decreased pleasure, failure, panic and loss of concentration with other depressive symptoms.”
Statistics suggest that one in seven women experience post partum. But with changing social dynamics, nuclear families, demanding work spaces and old gender role definitions a lot of women experience moderate stress or severe depression during post pregnancy phase. The most astonishing fact about this phenomenon is its low grade awareness and acknowledgement.
Despite exhibiting all signs of anxiety/stress and depression most women and their families tend to pass it off with mere “baby blues” associated with sleeplessness and over exertion. While these are key contributing factors to post partum depression, build up change in hormones, lesser understanding and warmth from family members, too much burden of responsibility on a new mother and less help more advice tend to just push the new mother from boundaries of anxiety to core depression.
A lot of women who undergo post partum depression also face major changes like a complete upheaval from an outgoing independent working women to a full time caretaker of a child. Messy hair, not-fitting-any-more wardrobe, lethargy, no time for friends, fun or self tend to just increase her woes. With passage of time, if not attended to duly, these syndromes tend to linger and find a permanent space as chronic depression in some. Gradual increase might lead to a longer dwelling of sadness.
Early reorganization of symptoms and acknowledging the problem is the first and the most basic step in positive direction. Once you are aware that you are exhibiting these signs you at least come to know that this is a phase and that it need to be taken care of. The next level is reaching out for help. Help can be sleeked in various forms. These days with door step reach of technology one can rely on social media like facebook groups etc where other moms have shared their stories of how it is completely normal to feel such emotions and how they have won over their post partum depression. These stories not only make you feel connected to others who have faced similar situations but also help you test and try methods or customize them to your like for emerging a winner in fight with post partum.
The other way help can be reached out to as a beginning step is letting your close ones know about your feelings. Your spouse for one as this might encourage him to be around more and do his bit. A close friend who can hear you out ,has had past experience or is mature enough to guide .help you through it. But not always does one have the availability of the required ears and warmth. A lot of times such emotions are only triggered/accentuated due to less camaraderie between closest relations and their indifference towards your situation.
In such cases if you find your feelings of sadness and disinterest grow to a level where self harm ideas start hovering a lot in your mind, this is a wake-up call to meet a doctor for the problem. Gone are the days when psychiatric help was considered a taboo. The best medicine and minds today work in providing psychiatric help to the patients to rehabilitate them and provide them a happy life moving on from the worried phase of life. Meeting a psychiatrist would only give you a direction and help you through a hand holding process towards bursting the cloud of depression.
In certain cases medication seems to be the best route while in others psychological counselling is suggested as the best means by the psychiatrist. A psychologist/counselor helps you as your friend, mentor and go to person to download all your feelings in their drive through continuous sessions and helps you load new data from the same drive. It is like looking at the positive side of something that was stuck in your mind as a problem.
I for one who has experienced post partum in high severity with a lot of other changes that took place simultaneously adding to the problem and have emerged a winner believe strictly in the silver lining. Nothing lasts for ever, so this shall pass too. But one should never concede to a problem but rather fight it till the end. Getting help not only makes you a better person but also makes you stronger because you faced your condition, met the storm in the eye and then moved on to live a better, peaceful, calmer life.
Yes it does get better, much better. We cannot change external factors, they might just tend to get worse in life or time. But we can get peace within ourselves. The treatment of post partum is not about solving problems, its about winning them while they continue to exist. You will still have fatigue but it will not be in your spirit of living it will only be present physically. You might still be worried about your child’s health but you wouldn’t keep enlarging your worries in traumatic fears.
Life beyond post partum depression is happiness and blesses you with a new born learning skills form you and pleasing you with antics that are the cutest thing to watch in the world.
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