What Is Postpartum Depression Disorder and How to Cope with It?
Like most moms, you probably expected your new baby’s arrival to be punctuated with excitement and joy. And for a while, it was, until the dreaded baby blues checked in.And you thought to yourself they’d soon go away. After all, they weren’t exclusively unique to you, right? Your trusted source, Google, had affirmed how common it is for many women to experience them, following childbirth.But they’ve persisted, and now your worry has heightened. Read out What Is Postpartum Depression Disorder and How to Cope with It.
You don’t understand what’s happening anymore, or why. “Why do I feel such a big disconnect with my baby? Why can’t I bond properly with my baby?” you silently wonder to yourself.
“Why I’m I sad all the time, crying on a whim for no apparent reason?”
What you’re going through must be very difficult and emotionally draining. But here, we can give you much-needed postpartum support and help ease your mind by giving you the information you need to understand what’s happening and how you can find help from online therapy.
Did you know that, for 1 in every 8 women who experience the joy of childbirth, their joy is usually cut short within the first 3 weeks when postpartum depression rears its ugly head?
And when PPD shows up, it’s never business as usual; it gets right to work, wreaking havoc in your otherwise peaceful and joyous life as a new mom.
From influencing how you bond with your newborn, to interfering with your day-to-day, self-care activities like whether or not you take a shower, sleep, eat or even get out of bed in the morning, PPD leaves no stone unturned.
So, What Is Postpartum Depression Disorder?
Postpartum depression is a mental health mood disorder that mostly affects new moms within 3 weeks following childbirth.
It’s a concoction of emotional, psychological, behavioral, and physical changes which cause mood swings and interfere with your energy levels and daily activities.
Recognized as a public health issue and the most common childbirth complication, postpartum depression (PPD) affects around 13% of new moms on average.
The DSM-5, which is a manual in the medical world used for diagnosing mental disorders, classifies PPD as a major depression that starts within the first postnatal month.
What Factors Put You at Risk for Developing Postpartum Depression?
The University Health Network did an in-depth study on Postpartum depression. According to their Literature review of risk factors and interventions, the factors tabled below are the strongest predictors of PPD:
|Strong Predictors||Moderate predictors||Small predictors|
|•Prenatal depression||• Low self-esteem||•Pregnancy complications|
|•Prenatal anxiety||•Neuroticism||•Quality of your relationship with your partner|
|•Previous history of depression||•Infant temperament||•Socioeconomic status|
|•Poor social support||•Heightened childcare stress||•Poor cognitive attributions|
During pregnancy, you can analyze the table above to help you determine whether you might be at risk of developing postpartum depression.
If you suspect you’re at risk, you may want to consider seeking help before your pregnancy advances too far. Online therapy is a convenient option you could try.
Postpartum Depression Symptoms and Signs
Many people often mistake PPD for baby blues at first, because they both have similar early-onset signs and symptoms, which include:
- Mood swings
- Crying (usually for no reason)
- Trouble sleeping
- Poor concentration
- Problems with appetite
- Feeling overwhelmed
Adjusting to having a new baby at home who mostly depends on you as their primary caregiver can be tasking, tiring and quite overwhelming. This, added to your need for self-care, can lead to baby blues.
However, baby blues usually last from only a few days to 2 weeks at most.
When you start noticing that your baby blues seem to persist beyond two weeks after onset and are getting more intense, it may be time to take a closer look.
The key difference between baby blues and postpartum depression disorder is that while baby blues will usually disappear within a few days to 2 weeks max, postpartum depression symptoms will not only persist beyond 2 weeks but also intensify and escalate into any (or a combination) of the following:
- Severe mood swings
- Difficulty bonding with your baby
- Excessive crying
- Loss/heightened appetite
- Anger/extreme irritability
- Severe panic/anxiety attacks
- Poor concentration/clarity
- Diminished ability to make decisions
- Overwhelming fatigue/low energy
- Refusal to breastfeed
- Fearing that you’re not a good mom
- Losing interest in doing things you previously enjoyed/took pleasure in
- Feeling inadequate/shame/guilt/worthless
- Recurrent suicidal ideation
- Thoughts about harming your baby or yourself
- Neglecting self-care
If you notice you’re suffering from any of or a combination of the above symptoms, it could be that you’re suffering from postpartum depression disorder.
The good news, though, is that PPD, once diagnosed correctly and by a certified and licensed therapist, is treatable.
However, left untreated, it can escalate into postpartum psychosis.
If you suspect you have postpartum depression disorder, consider engaging a professional therapist to guide you through your healing journey.
How Long Does Postpartum Depression Last?
Because PPD shows up between 2 weeks to 12 months after childbirth, there’s no telling how long it might last.
A review of studies performed in 2014, claims that postpartum depression symptoms usually resolve within 3-6 months.
However, the same review indicates that 30+% of women were still struggling with postpartum depression mood swings beyond 6 months, and for some, even past a year.
The most important thing, as a PPD patient, is to seek help and start treating it as soon as possible, to help ease and manage your symptoms.
Left untreated, PPD can escalate to dangerous proportions.
Postpartum Depression Treatment Options
If you suspect what you’re experiencing might not just be mere baby blues, and have plausible cause to believe you’re suffering from postpartum mood swings or depression, seek professional help.
Among the various options available is online therapy on Calmerry, which is easy to find, vet, and engage, thanks to technology. As a new mom, what can beat the convenience of zooming into an online therapy self-care session from the comfort of your home (probably even bed), with your baby latched at your boob?
Once you establish initial contact and book a consultation, the therapist will analyze your symptoms and diagnose you, after which they’ll discuss possible treatment options with you and together, you can decide which treatment method to settle for.
Postpartum depression treatment options typically include therapy and medication. Your therapist will help you determine the type of treatment that’s best for you, based on the severity of your symptoms.
If you choose to try online therapy, remember to do your due diligence as far as vetting your therapist’s qualifications/legitimacy is concerned. If you’re unable to do this yourself, ask someone that’s part of your postpartum support system to help.
Never shy away from asking for help whenever you need it, be it with caring for the baby, chores, errands, or tasks. Seeking help is part of PPD self-care, and so is seeking treatment for this condition.
And don’t worry, many women have recovered fully from postpartum depression within months of starting treatment plans. The sun will shine again, and you and your baby shall one day dance together in the rain.