Bringing life into this world is one of the many joys of childbearing. However, for some women, this can result in feelings of hopelessness, self-harm, and even fatigue. According to the American Psychological Association, 1 in 7 women suffers from postpartum depression. There are times when people with postnatal depression can’t bear the thought of leaving the house. If you experience this, then you should seek help from a licensed psychiatrist such as Dr. Allison Sikorsky, a Bloomingdale, IL, board certified psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner.
Maternal depression is a serious issue that poses a risk to both the mother and the infant. People with a history of depression, even before pregnancy, are at a higher risk of experiencing postpartum depression. Other risk factors associated with postnatal depression include hormonal changes, advanced maternal age, genetics, as well as unplanned pregnancies.
Maternal depression can start at any time within the first year post-delivery. It’s a period where some women can’t get out of bed or are overcome by panic. Adele, who is a Grammy Award-winning singer, explained to Vanity Fair about her postpartum depression. For her, it started after giving birth to her son in 2012. She mentioned being frightened and bursting into tears. Later on, she decided to confide in a friend as well as set aside one afternoon every week to do whatever she wanted without her baby. She also added that the stigma around postpartum depression prevented mothers from seeking help out of fear of being called a bad mom.
Serena Williams, a star tennis player, opened up about postpartum depression, calling it the “fourth trimester.” She remembered getting upset and bursting into tears one day when she couldn’t find her daughter’s bottle and felt like she wasn’t doing her best.
Postpartum Can Cause Serious Harm If Left Untreated
Maternal depression can negatively impact the overall quality of life for both mothers and their infants. Due to stress, mothers may fail to practice proper nutrition habits, become sick, and eventually, this affects their breast milk.
Additionally, depression may strain the mother’s relationships with their partners. Some partners have reported their partners as being cold and distant. Depression also leads to sexual dysfunction and may break up relationships and marriages.
Depression can also lead to relapse in addictive behavior. Studies show that women who had previously quit smoking may relapse when they experience depressive episodes—those with severe postpartum depression experience suicidal ideation.
Although it’s rare, men whose partner suffers from postnatal depression may also get depressed and are more likely to spank their children.
Treatment Options for Postpartum Depression
There are various treatment procedures used to treat maternal depression. Psychotherapy has proven to be effective in treating postpartum depression. The two main forms of psychotherapy are psychodynamic, and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).
CBT uses three main approaches to help mothers deal with their problems. The CBT Didactic approach is the first one used to set expectations for the treatment. This is then followed by the cognitive approach which aims at identifying thoughts that may cause depression. Lastly, a behavioral component utilizes behavior change techniques to treat postpartum depression. Psychodynamic treatment targets the mother’s relationships and conflicts that may have led to depression.
Aside from therapy, mothers may also receive antidepressants that will not be passed on to the baby through breastfeeding. Finally, mothers and their partners should play their role in managing postpartum depression. Combining self-help strategies with treatment is a great way to beat depression.