The “baby blues” or more
It is widely acknowledged that bringing a new baby into the family can be challenging at the best of times, physically, mentally and emotionally.
And it is natural for new parents to experience a wide variety of emotions, feeling excited and joyful one minute and depressed or overwhelmed the next. The “baby blues” is a common term used to describe the rollercoaster of emotions, in particular sad ones that may arise during pregnancy and the first few months of parenthood. However, the issue arises when these sad feelings do not subside. A once hushed-up disease, postpartum depression is being brought into the light. Celebrities like Brooke Shields, Hayden Panettiere, Gwyneth Paltrow and most recently, Chrissy Teigen, are sharing their stories and helping new moms (and dads) acknowledge, accept and deal with this surprisingly common condition. Worldwide statistics reveal that around 1 in 5 new mothers experience some form of postpartum depression or anxiety. The first step to dealing with this treatable disease is being aware of the signs and how these symptoms can manifest. Reaching out for help is key and with a wellrounded approach, most new parents recover quickly and permanently.
Postpartum depression affects more than just new moms The common misconception is that only new moms experience symptoms V I S TA M A G A Z I N E I S S U E N O . 1 1 4
of PPD. However, this is not the case. Pregnant women are also at risk, as are adoptive mothers. And it’s not just moms; dads and partners can be affected also. A report in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that 10 percent of men worldwide showed signs of depression from the first trimester of their wife’s pregnancy to six months after the child was born. Often referred to as paternal postpartum depression or PPPD, this number increased to 26 percent during the three- to six-month period after the baby’s arrival. A large number of new parents experience symptoms of depression during pregnancy and the first year of their infant’s life making this disease a significant public health concern. While completely treatable, knowing the signs and symptoms associated with PPD help new moms and their partners get the help they need.
When it’s time to reach out for help Everyone experiences good and bad days. And never has this been truer than during the early stages of parenthood. However, a mother or father with postpartum depression may not enjoy the baby and have frequent thoughts that they’re a bad parent. Common symptoms include feeling extremely overwhelmed and wondering if they’ll ever be able to get a handle on being a parent. Feelings of doubt as to whether
“There is no such thing as a perfect pregnancy, perfect birth, perfect baby, or perfect parent. You are doing the best you can.”
they should have become a parent in the first place are also common. These notions are often coupled with a sense of guilt. The new parents may worry that the baby deserves better and wonder whether the baby can tell they feel so bad, or that they’re crying so much. The happiness and connection we’ve been lead to believe typically follows pregnancy and birth may be diminished or completely nonexistent. These emotions make bonding with the new baby difficult and can lead to feelings of irrational anger or irritation towards the baby or the partner. Alternatively, these feelings may manifest as sadness, emptiness or hopelessness; often described as “robotic” or “going through the motions.” When these symptoms persist, and are present most of the time (lasting for a period of two weeks or more), you or your loved one may be struggling with PPD. P HO T O © K O M K R I T P R E E C H A C H A N W A T E
Published on Sep 1, 2017