Postnatal Depression in Young Mums

Being a young mother is beautiful because that means you will have more time to love your baby. Before I am 40 years my son will already be in third or second year of university while most of my friends will maybe still attending class 8 meetings in school I will be finishing with my mummyhood, so totally cool!!!. 🙂 However because of the journey, sometimes it comes with a lot of emotional turmoil due to various reason such as lack of support for out of 8 women who have babies young 4  tend to experience post natal depression.

I remember (something I am not proud of) there were times when my child would cry and I would come to a point, I would literally ignore, it is like I have not even heard him. I was easily irritable because I mean he was fed, warm and clearly not sick at all so I did not get why he was crying. So I would just ignore the cries. I remember one day there was a friend who asked me, “surely! What has the baby done?” Though this did not last long. So the other day it came up while discussing experiences (as always) with other young mums and it seemed to be a common thing and this lead me to this post, so I hope it may enlighten someone. However it did not last long. In most women just a few weeks after baby is born and in extreme cases years after and that is why it is important to detect it and seek help as soon as possible. However I think mine may have been inclined more towards baby blues which is something different.

The statistics of women who face postnatal depression is 10 to 15 mothers in 100 mothers.

Post natal depression is sometimes confused with the baby blues. The baby blues are when you feel moody, weepy, tired or anxious during the first week after giving birth. These feelings will usually pass within a few days.

However, unlike the baby blues, PND is an illness that is unlikely to get better quickly, and without help. The sooner you recognize that you have PND, and get the support that you need, the less likely it is to become a severe or long-term problem.

Pregnant woman unable to sleep

Usually a mother may not be aware that they are going through this unless your family or friends who know you notice a difference in terms of your behaviour. Some of the signs and symptoms of post natal depression are: sad or low, unable to enjoy anything, extremely tired, with no energy, hopeless, a sense of guilt, thoughts of suicide, avoiding people, lacking in appetite ,miserable, tearful , anxious, loss of interest in sex and also very irritable as I mentioned was my case above when baby used to cry a lot and I do not seem to find anything is the matter. However some of these symptoms may be experienced by new parents however if you seem to be experiencing them quite often then maybe that is when you need to check with your doctor if you may be suffering from post natal depression.

What causes post natal depression?

Experts don’t fully understand why some women become depressed and others don’t. It’s likely to be for a few reasons, rather than just one cause. You could be vulnerable to depression with your second baby, even if you were fine with your first, or vice versa.

Sometimes, the things you have to face every day just get on top of you, and make it harder for you to look after yourself, rest and eat well. Certain circumstances may make it harder for you to cope, such as if:

• You have been depressed before, or have had problems with your mental health, or were depressed during your pregnancy. This is however common with young mothers because of the emotional turmoil that comes with having a baby early and that is why four out of eight teenage or young mothers will suffer from post natal depression.
• You don’t have a supportive partner, or have no family or friends living nearby.
• You’re having financial, housing, job or relationship problems.
• You experienced difficult labor, and health problems afterwards.
• Your baby was born prematurely, or is unwell.
• You are finding it difficult to breast feed.
• Sad memories have been stirred up after your baby was born, such as the death of one of your parents.

How does PND affect how I feel about my baby?
• You may feel guilty that you don’t feel the way you expected to.
• You may or may not love your baby.
• You may not feel close to your baby.
• You might find it hard to work out what your baby is feeling, or what your baby needs.
• You may resent the baby or blame the baby for the way you feel.

However not everyone gets depressed after having a baby, and in as much as there are no common causes the ones named above may be some of the reasons why.

Do women with PND harm their babies?
Depressed mothers often worry that they might do this, but it is very rare. Occasionally, through utter tiredness and desperation, you might feel like hitting or shaking your baby. Many mothers (and fathers) occasionally feel like this, not just those with PND. In spite of having these feelings at times, most mothers never act on them. If you do feel like this, tell someone.
Women often worry that if they tell someone how they feel, their baby may be taken away. Actually your GP, health visitor and midwife will want to help you get better. This will mean that you can enjoy and care for your baby at home.
But there have been strange cases we have heard of women throwing their babies in pit latrines or suffocating them because they are crying so much due to them being depressed.

Can postnatal depression be prevented?
We don’t know enough about PND to prevent it in the first place. The following suggestions seem sensible and may help to keep you well.
• Don’t try to be ‘superwoman’. Try to do less and make sure that you don’t get over-tired.
• Do make friends with other women who are pregnant or have just had a baby. It may be more difficult to make new friends if you get PND.
• Do find someone you can talk to. If you don’t have a close friend you can turn to.
• Do go to antenatal classes. If you have a partner, take them with you. If not take a friend or relative.
• Don’t stop antidepressant medication during pregnancy without advice. Around 7 in 10 women who stop antidepressants in pregnancy relapse if they stop the medication. You need to discuss the risks and benefits of continuing treatment in pregnancy and breastfeeding.
• Do keep in touch with your doctor if you have had depression before. Any signs of depression in pregnancy or PND can be recognized early.
• Do make sure that you have treatment for depression in pregnancy. This may be a talking therapy or medication.
• Do accept offers of help from friends and family.

I will share on how to help yourself, how you can help a mother with post natal depression as well.

P.s don’t judge me, just had to share my experience above, because I know there are several women going through the same and have no idea what is going on in their lives because people expect you to be glowy and happy and not taking your hands or eyes off your baby at any time. So do not be ashamed, it will all be okay eventually. Soon!

photo credits: google 🙂

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