When its more than the baby blues

Updated: Jul 17, 2020

Postpartum depression is a type of depression that a woman can develop after giving birth.

With my second child, had a bout of postpartum depression that was trigger by my environment: lack of support.

We had only been in Canada 2.5 years, and I was without family, not many friends, a husband working 2 jobs, and I was at home with 2 young children. What made it worse was that, as a former nanny, I put a lot of pressure on myself to not feel, how I was feeling, as I have spent my whole like working with children, of course the children were not the issue. It took about 6 months to help me through this tough period, where I would look in the mirror and not recognize the person looking back.

Depression can range from moderate to severed it can develop shortly after delivery or up to a year later. Most of the time, it occurs within the first 3 months after giving birth.

What causes postpartum depression is unknown; it could any number of things. Doctors believe that the hormone changes either drops or spikes in specific hormones during and after the pregnancy may be the culprit. There are several unspecified non-hormonal factors that may also affect the woman’s moods during this period such as the ones listed below:

Lack of sleep  Changes at work  Having less free time or time to do what you want  Worrying about being a good mother  Worrying about the baby  Worrying about returning to work or leaving the baby to go out for a little while  Changes in the relationship with the baby’s father  Changes in other relationships

Some women have a higher risk of developing postpartum depression.

Unplanned pregnancy 

Uncertainty about continuing the pregnancy (feelings of guilt of considering terminating the pregnancy after giving birth)  Under the age of 20 over the age of 40  Already have a mental illness (depression, bipolar disorder or an anxiety disorder)  Family history of depression  Abuse alcohol, take illegal drugs, or smoke (all of which can cause harm to the baby) Single or have a bad relationship with the baby’s father  Financial difficulties Have little to no support system (family and friends)  Any event that caused stress during the pregnancy (serious illness or death of a loved one) You had an illness or suffered an injury  Premature labor and delivery  Difficult labor that ended with an emergency vaginal delivery or C-section  Baby born with an illness or birth defect  If twins were born and only one survived

A woman who shows signs of postpartum depression needs to contact their doctor immediately.

The treatment for women who have postpartum depression can include medication, therapy, or both. Whether or not the new mom is breastfeeding will determine what medication, if any, will be prescribed.

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