Giving birth to a new life depicts an incredible feeling that no one can ever truly fathom. As expecting moms embark on a journey to motherhood, overwhelming emotions arise. It can be a combination of excitement and joy while the others feel quite the opposite – rage, sorrow, stress, and depression.
A lot of women suffer from mood disorders and other behavioral issues during and after pregnancy. While others think that it’s just normal and won’t affect the interaction toward others and to their own baby, this mood disorder can be more than just an emotional problem. It can develop a form of depression that pregnant women and first-time moms can experience – Postpartum Depression or PPD.
There has always been a debate about the myths and facts of postpartum depression. Unfortunately, misconceptions have multiplied over time. But what’s the truth behind postpartum depression? What are the myths that you should be aware of?
Postpartum Depression or PPD isn’t just like any typical depression. Between 10 and 15 percent of women go through this kind of depression that can impact certain aspects of their lives. Although the majority of people who experience PPD are women, it can affect both sexes.
The effects of PPD varies from one person to another, though. But the usual symptoms include mood swings, sleep deprivation, stress, and anxiety. Here are the other signs you should know.
- Loss of appetite
- Changes in eating patterns
- Excessive crying
- Becoming distant from others
- Feels angry at times
- Has feelings of worthlessness and guilt
- Has troubles in focusing and making decisions
- Less interest in recreational activities
- Has feelings of deep regrets
Myths and Facts
If you, someone in your family, a friend or someone you know is going through postpartum depression, there are myths and facts about it that you should know. Determining such information will help you or your loved one how to cope with this depression effectively.
- MYTH: Postpartum Depression can occur shortly after giving birth.
FACT: Although most women experience postpartum depression shortly after giving birth, it can also occur weeks or months after it. Stress, anxious thoughts and behaviors about how to take care of their newborn baby usually take place which results in serious depression. For severe cases of long-lasting postpartum depression, there are times when it more than just two or three days. Sometimes it can last up to two weeks or a few months.
Depression can also occur even before the baby is born which is one of the common complications of childbirth. It is called prenatal depression.
- MYTH: Postpartum Depression is just like any ordinary depression that moms can overcome easily.
FACT: PPD isn’t like any ordinary or typical type of depression. And even though most people think it is something very easy to deal with and it can resolve on its own in due time, it isn’t true. This biological illness is usually associated with anger, irritability, mood swings, remorseful thoughts, and short temper. Those who have prenatal or postpartum depression may experience a kind of anger or stress in the utmost level that she hasn’t experienced before. These symptoms do not happen in a typical depression.
Uttermost preparation and full support from the family and loved ones play a vital role to reduce the risks of getting PPD. Proper exercise and sufficient amount of sleeping contribute a lot to a healthy pregnancy. A 15-minute walk a day during pregnancy can lighten up your mood. But it is a must to wear proper shoes for pregnancy to prevent other complications. And to help you be more comfortable while sleeping, you can try a cozy pregnancy pillow.
- MYTH: Postpartum Depression means a woman is weak.
FACT: This is one of the common misconceptions about depression. Those who have PPD are known to be weak and have the inability to control such depression, which is certainly not true. Women are vulnerable to this type of depression but don’t necessarily mean that they’re weak. It is one of the complications of giving birth that needs immediate treatment.
- MYTH: Moms who have PPD means they don’t love their baby.
FACT: It may seem that way, but it is an absolute fallacy that needs to be rectified. Although it is true that one of the effects of postpartum depression is being distant or isolated from the others and even to her own baby, it doesn’t mean she loves her baby a little less or doesn’t love the baby at all.
According to a clinical social work and therapist, Kimberly Solo, that hormonal, biological, and psychological factors demonstrate negative effects of PPD which can affect the bond between the mother and her baby. However, it doesn’t conclude that the mother doesn’t have any love and affection for her baby at all.
- MYTH: Postpartum Depression only happens to first-time moms or parents.
FACT: According to Dr. Sheryl Kingsberg, the Chief of Behavioral Health at UH Macdonald Women’s Hospital, postpartum depression has the possibility to recur in the second or future pregnancies. Those who have already had PPD before may have the higher risk to experience it again in the long run although it is not always certain. Some moms get through the second or future pregnancies without any complications. However, if you’ve experienced such depression before, it is important to identify the symptoms and take prompt treatment to prevent such condition.
- MYTH: Dads don’t get postpartum depression.
FACT: Impossible as it may seem, dads can also get postpartum depression. Although moms are susceptible to such depression, paternal depression has come to light recently. About 10% of first-time dads experience depression after the birth of their baby and sometimes, even during their wives’ pregnancy. It also has symptoms of fatigue, sleep deprivation, irritability, impatience, withdrawal and being distant to the family.
As it is not fully understood how it can occur to new dads, since postpartum depression can cause effects within the family, paternal depression may become apparent due to the mother’s depression.
Always Seek Help
Postpartum depression is a serious health matter that needs to be addressed immediately. If you noticed any of the symptoms of this depression, it is vital to call your doctor, obstetrician, or a professional mental health doctor right away to help you cope with the effects of postpartum depression and prevent it from getting worse.