Giving birth to a baby is a process involving many stages. The process of becoming a mother involves a lot of mental and physical hurdles for the woman. After giving birth, several women are affected by postpartum depression which is little acknowledged. Several young women, who get married early owing to family problems and conceive, experience postpartum depression.
This is a serious condition that affects one in a thousand mothers. In addition to unreasonable fear and anxiety, it can also be caused by the feeling that the child does not belong to her. This condition usually appears in the first two weeks of delivery and can be treated by in-patient treatment and medication.
Who is more susceptible?
- Those who face severe conflicts in life or face problems in their married life
- Those whose partners have died or separated
- Mothers in poor financial conditions or with no help from families
- Those who faced mental illnesses during or before pregnancy.
- Those who experienced serious conditions/ complications as part of childbirth.
Postpartum depression can be divided into two types:
- Postpartum blues/Baby blues
This condition, which affects up to 80 per cent of women, usually occurs two to three days after delivery. It may improve over 2 to 3 weeks. Anger, anxiety, and sudden crying are symptoms of this condition and can be cured with the partner and family's care and support.
2. Postpartum depression
Difficulties of postpartum depression are exhibited in 2 to 3 weeks. Patients usually have decreased appetite, sleepiness and may not be happy when they spend time with or take care of the child. In severe cases, suicidal thoughts are possible. This can be treated through counselling.
How to deal with gestational depression?
Today, we live in a time of significant progress in various fields. Other family members must be aware of the woman's pregnancy status and act accordingly.
Things to keep in mind:
- The family, including the partner, should avoid unnecessary accusations and blame. Extend psychological support to the expecting mother.
- Older mothers relay several stories and pieces of advice based on their experiences in expecting mothers. We now live in a time when modern medicine and education have taken gigantic leaps forward. Stories like, "In the past, I experienced labour pain and gave birth while I was threshing paddy," or "Nowadays women do nothing but just rest," are triggering to expecting mothers. Avoid unnecessary comments and give peace to the mind of the pregnant woman.
- Openly communicate with your partner and gynaecologist about any problems you face without second thoughts. Emotional support from the partner is of primal importance to a pregnant woman.
- Avoid asking unwarranted, excess questions causing mothers to suspect problems with themselves or their new-borns. Mothers should regularly breastfeed their baby and follow the doctor's advice.
- Do not take opinions related to the baby's appearance, complexion and behaviour at face value.
- Childbirth is not a disease; it is a process. Avoid practices relating to childbirth and care that have no scientific basis. Seek medical advice before attempting at any of these practices. One such misconception is that drinking water during pregnancy makes you gain belly fat. Tying a cloth around the abdomen is also useless. Try to understand the scientific bases of practices and adopt and discard accordingly. Additionally, pregnant and lactating mothers must have a balanced diet rich in protein and vitamins.
- Another unscientific belief is that postpartum women should not see their husbands. The intimacy they need at this point is that of a partner, and it cannot be replaced. The partner's loving care during postpartum mental and physical hardships gives strength to the new mother. The partner's approach is primal to ensuring that the woman does not feel alone and protect her mental health during the postpartum period.