You’d think there’s nothing better than holding your newborn in your arms, than becoming a parent. In between the pleasure and joy of giving birth is a period of depression and anxiety in some mothers.
Postpartum depression is a term known to many but seldom understood. Our society brushes it under the carpet, labeling it as a mood swing. What we fail to realize is that postpartum depression is an actual illness and needs to be addressed the same way as any other mental illness does.
This spell of low moods, anxiety and depression can continue for months after giving birth and can worsen to a psychotic condition if neglected. While the root cause of it is still under scrutiny, you can’t deny its existence. Surprisingly, not only new mothers but also fathers might be affected.
Unfortunately in Pakistan where mental illness awareness is still in its infancy, the only solution to postpartum depression is thought of as getting closing to religion and reciting the Quran. It’s true these practices give a sense of peace and relaxation but they are not a viable treatment to a real mental disease.
Identifying the condition isn’t black and white. You can’t run a lab test and find out whether it’s postpartum depression you’re suffering from.
There can be multiple manifestations of postpartum depression. Keeping a sharp eye out for the signs can help you reach a quick diagnosis. According to studies, around 15% women experience symptoms of postpartum depression. Some of these women have a past history of depression while others might be experiencing depression for the first time after giving birth.
If you or your loved one has been showing a lack of interest in activities after giving birth, has brief crying spells, prefers to stay alone for most of the day or even neglects the needs of their newborn, then postpartum depression is highly likely.
Postpartum depression is treated by not only therapy but also pharmacological intervention. If you or a loved one is suffering from it, it’s high time you visit your psychiatrist and acknowledge your condition – it’s important for you and your newborn’s wellbeing.