Motherhood is a bliss that every woman longs to experience. However, it may involve many hardships. While various complications may occur during the pregnancy, the hitches may continue even after the delivery of the newborn. Importantly, the risks and problems are not only limited to physical conditions, but can also extend to mental illnesses like postnatal depression.
Postnatal depression, also known as postpartum depression (PPD), is a common condition that can affect any woman within a year of giving birth. Recently, British politician Andrea Leadsom opened up about her battle with postnatal depression. Having suffered from the PPD after giving birth to her eldest son, Leadsom talked about the severity of her condition that compelled her to stay helpless. “You just can’t imagine until you have suffered poor mental health just how awful it makes you feel and how helpless. It’s a very real, incredibly debilitating experience for far too many women when they’ve had a child,” said the leader of the House of Commons.
Fortunately, Leadsom had a supporting and understanding husband and family who helped her overcome the condition. Although occurring to the parents, especially mother, postnatal depression causes significant harm to the newborn as well that includes disrupting his/her growth. As explained by Leadsom, the first 1,001 days, which includes period from the conception to the age of two are very crucial for the newborn. “The peak period for the growth and development of the social part of a baby’s brain is six to 18 months and that growth is largely stimulated by the loving relationship with his or her primary caregiver,” added Leadsom.
Prevalence of PPD in US
In the United States, postpartum depression is a common condition affecting more than 14 percent women. The problem is different from baby blues. In fact, PPD is a serious mental disorder that can last from weeks to a year and get worse with time. The illness makes it hard for a mother to get through the day, thereby making her helpless and affecting her ability to take care of the newborn. The affected mother turns incapable of not only providing the love and care to her baby, but also finds it difficult to feed the newborn.
PPD is characterized by symptoms such as persistent feeling of sadness, lack of energy, panic attacks, scary thoughts, mood swings, fear of being left alone with child, thoughts of hurting oneself or the baby, disturbance in sleep pattern, and difficulty in bonding with the baby. The symptoms, if left untreated, can lead to suicidal thoughts and tendencies.
The road ahead
Feeling sad or low after the childbirth is common as the entire process includes many hormonal changes that also affect the mood and stability. However, persistence of these negative feelings should not be ignored. Generally, postnatal depression, like any other mental illness, does not get proper attention. This ignorance has cost many lives. Therefore, it is important to spread awareness about the condition.
Postnatal depression needs proper medical intervention and treatment for recovery. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), it is important to seek early help as about half of women diagnosed with PPD may have started experiencing symptoms during pregnancy. If you or your loved one is suffering from any kind of depression, including PPD, contact the Florida Depression Helpline to access information about a world-class depression rehab. You may call us at our 24/7 helpline number (866) 267-5177 or chat online with our expert to know about one of the best depression treatment centers in Florida.