As a brief introduction to the symptoms of post-partum depression and other mood issues related to the birth process in this article (link to first article) indicates, these issues can have debilitating effects on the new mother. Studies show that 1 out 10 new mothers in the US has PPD and many more are at
Along with the mother, the father or second parent can also get affected because PPD and mood patterns associated with it can put a strain on the relationship, cause communication problems, fights and lead to worry for the second parent. It may also increase their stress as they may have to care for the new mother, the baby, any other children in the family, as well as tend to household and work duties. Children of women with untreated PPD can exhibit ADHD, ADD and apathy, to name a few issues. They are also likely to have an insecure attachment style which is associated with emotional, social and academic problems in children.
Therefore, it is of utmost important to understand the risk factors and causes of PPD to know if you need to seek help in dealing with it. Causation has been largely attributed to hormonal processes that happen in the body during pregnancy and delivery. Since hormones are intricately connected to emotions, sometimes, the strain of pregnancy and birth can wreck havoc with mood. The actual delivery can be a painful process and can act as a trigger too.
Postpartum depression can develop after the birth of any child, not just the first. The risk increases if:
- You have a history of depression, either during pregnancy or at other times
- You have bipolar disorder
- You had postpartum depression after a previous pregnancy
- You have family members who've had depression or other mood stability problems
- You've experienced stressful events during the past year, such as pregnancy complications, illness or job loss
- Your baby has health problems or other special needs
- You have difficulty breast-feeding
- You're having problems in your relationship with your spouse or significant other
- You have a weak support system
- You have financial problems
- The pregnancy was unplanned or unwanted
It is important to address this immediately, because PPD can develop into anxiety, psychosis or major depressive disorder. Do not wait if you have even a mild sensation of mood disturbance, combined with a couple of risk factors. It is imperative not to leave PPD untreated. It can ruin relationships and affect the growth of the new-born.
If you are a partner for a mother with PPD, love and comfort, and not giving up are important. You need to understand that this is not the true mother, but the mother under the hold of a crippling emotional issue. Urge them to get therapy and medication. Make sure that you also get support and care and are not overburdened.
Get help from a professional mental health specialist at the earliest.
Please feel free to ask questions and post comments.