Giving birth can set off a ton of emotions, some great, some not. While childbirth can make women feel elated, it can make them feel depressed, as well. With problems related to childbirth, postpartum depression is the most common. Close to nearly half a million females each year in the United States, will experience this. This type of depression is a complicated mix of behavioral, emotional, and physical changes some woman experience after childbirth. The onset is usually within four weeks after giving birth. There are different types of postpartum depression. This ranges from baby blues, major postpartum depression, and postpartum psychosis.
The Baby Blues
The baby blues is the most common and mild type of postpartum depression. The amount of new mothers this affects, ranges from 50-75%. This usually starts within a few days after giving birth. Baby blues is considered normal. This type of depression can cause mood swings, feeling happy go lucky one minute, and the next minute, crying your eyes out. You can experience anxiety, irritability, loneliness, impatience, and unhappiness. Baby blues can last anywhere from a couple hours, to two weeks. You are not going crazy, it is totally normal to feel this way. I gave birth three times, and experienced baby blues with two of them. I felt I was being silly, crying about things that normally would have no effect on me. After talking to other mothers, I realized it was not silly, it was normal. There are support groups available to new mothers that may help. Treatment usually is not required, unless it gets worse or lasts longer.
Major Postpartum Depression
This type of depression occurs in approximately 10% of new mothers. Symptoms last longer and are worse, than baby blues. Normally it starts three weeks or more after giving birth. However, some women do not experience this until several months after childbirth. Some of the symptoms are similar as with baby blues, but more severe. They might experience poor concentration, crying spells, sadness, trouble making decisions, feeling inadequate, and possible thoughts of suicide. In addition, there may be physical symptoms present. These symptoms are alike to hypothyroidism, cold sensitivity, slowed thinking, dry skin, constipation, fatigue, and retaining fluid. Taking care of the baby might be difficult. There is no need to feel shame, if you experience any of these symptoms. Although, I never experienced postpartum depression at this severity, a few of my friends have. They spoke with their doctor about how they were feeling. One of my friends received counseling, while the other needed counseling and anti-depressants. The depression did eventually end and they no longer needed treatment. You are not alone, and there is help.
Postpartum psychosis occurs in approximately 1-2 woman out of 1,000. This kind of postpartum depression is extreme, and considered serious. Medical treatment needs to be sought, immediately. Usually hospitalization is needed, for the safety of the mother, as well as the baby. Medication is needed, almost always. Postpartum psychosis can develop rapidly. Some of the symptoms include fast mood swings, weird behavior, delusions, hallucinations, and anxiety and agitation that is extreme. Symptoms include, actions or thoughts of suicide, thoughts of hurting your baby, and unable to sleep or eat. There are times when there is lucidity, however this does not necessarily mean recovery has happened. Although, recovery can happen fast, what most commonly happens, the psychosis changes to severe depression. I never experienced postpartum psychosis myself, however, a relative of mine suffered from this. She had to be hospitalized, and medicated. After release from the hospital, she continued with counseling. She had to remain on the medication for several months, as well.
You Are Not Alone
While experiencing postpartum depression, you might feel all alone in this. There are plenty of mothers that have gone through the same. It does not mean you are weak, or flawed or a bad mother. There are real reasons why this happens, that were out of your control. Do not feel disgraced by seeking help. The sooner you receive help, the sooner you will feel back to yourself. Unfortunately, there are cases where women do not seek help, and the results were fatal. Do not hesitate to talk to your doctor right away.
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