As a new mom, I am experiencing a mix of joy and overwhelming challenges after giving birth. From the pains of contractions and breastfeeding discomfort to constant sleep deprivation, it's a lot to handle. It's not just physical discomfort; there are also psychological hurdles to deal with. The instinct to protect my baby can make me overly cautious, and the flood of baby care advice on social media can be frustrating. This can lead to emotional breakdowns and overwhelming sadness.
But it's important to know that these postpartum emotions are not my fault. Hormonal changes play a role in how I feel. After giving birth, there are rapid shifts in hormones like estrogen and progesterone, leading to emotional lows known as "baby blues." These feelings typically last a couple of weeks and include crying spells, anxiety, and fatigue. It's important to confront these emotions and remind myself that they will pass.
- The emotional well-being of women in the postpartum period is influenced by hormonal changes.
After giving birth, there is a rapid fluctuation in reproductive hormones within the mother's body. For susceptible women, this hormonal imbalance, including shifts in estrogen and progesterone levels, can potentially serve as a source of underlying stress. Around 30-75% of women experience what is commonly known as "baby blues" after childbirth, which is characterized by a temporary state of emotional low. This emotional decline typically occurs within 2 to 5 days after delivery and eases around 10 to 14 days. During this period, women may experience crying spells, sadness, anxiety, irritability, sleep disturbances, changes in appetite, mental confusion, and fatigue. However, it does not significantly interfere with their daily life or their ability to care for their baby.
Given these circumstances, it is advisable to confront and embrace our emotions with courage, reassuring ourselves that these days will swiftly pass, and we will soon be able to adapt and overcome.
- Many women are unprepared for the myriad of situations that arise after childbirth, lacking the necessary psychological readiness.
The fear of the unknown often instills in us a sense of dread. The abrupt emergence of postpartum challenges, ranging from labor pains and breastfeeding discomfort to infant jaundice and colicky pains, can leave many first-time mothers feeling perplexed and at a loss. To prevent these unexpected occurrences from becoming overwhelming burdens, it is wise to prepare in advance.
Mothers can consider engaging in prenatal training programs or investing in informative parenting encyclopedias to proactively familiarize themselves with the potential risks that may accompany the postpartum period. By acquiring knowledge ahead of time, we can navigate the multitude of difficulties and alleviate numerous concerns.
- Postpartum depression (PPD)
Postpartum depression (PPD) is a common mental health issue that can occur within the first six months after giving birth and affects approximately 13% to 19% of women. However, due to delayed or limited medical intervention, the true prevalence of PPD is often underestimated. If you continue to experience these distressing emotions for more than 14 days after childbirth, it's possible that you may be dealing with PPD. As a mother, it is not advisable to avoid or ignore these feelings, as PPD can have long-term consequences for both you and your children.
If you are experiencing at least five of the following depressive symptoms persistently for more than two weeks, it is important to pay attention to your mental well-being and seek further evaluation with the assistance of a healthcare professional:
- Feeling consistently depressed throughout the day (either self-reported or observed by others)
- Loss of interest or pleasure in most activities throughout the day
- Troublesome sleep patterns, either insomnia or excessive sleepiness
- Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt
- Persistent lack of energy or fatigue
- Repeated thoughts of death or suicidal ideation, or even suicide attempts
- Difficulty concentrating, impaired thinking, or indecisiveness
- Noticeable changes in weight or appetite (a 5% body weight change within one month)
Among the symptoms of PPD, the most common ones include lack of interest, feelings of sadness, self-blame, guilt, and despair. It may be beneficial to reduce stress and take the time to have open conversations with a healthcare professional who can provide assistance with their professional knowledge and experience.
If your symptoms are mild, exercising can be a great way to treat depression. It's important to talk to your husband about your family's current situation and what you need from him. Take a break from stressful household chores and make time for things you love. Learn to love yourself more and believe that companionship, exercise, love, and time can heal everything.
If your condition is severe, please seek treatment actively. There's nothing more wonderful than being alive, and there are infinite possibilities waiting for you as long as you're alive.