It’s an undeniable fact that the birth of a child brings the parent utter bliss and happiness. Yet there are studies that say that about 60 percent of new mothers suffer from postpartum depression. This state of depression varies in intensity with each mother.

The word ‘baby blues’ should not be confused with postpartum depression as the later could be a more serious condition. The ‘baby blues’ effect as many as 80 percent of new mothers and is identified with much more milder signs disappearing within a few days to a couple of weeks. On the contrary, PPD is a clinical problem and last for several weeks to months.

A new mother encounters many tough challenges starting from learning how to feed and care for the child to deal with sleepless nights. So it’s natural to feel tired, irritable and anxious in the first few days or a week. However, if these feelings of depression last for more than a few weeks or months and start to effects the way a mother could care for her child and herself then it’s a sign that it needs medical attention. Postpartum depression doesn’t resolve on its own.

In this context, it’s important to understand the signs of PPD which include intense and lasting signs of:

1. Feeling sad and hopeless

2. Increased irritation and snapping at people around

3. Loss of interest in earlier pleasurable activities

4. Withdrawing from family and friends

5. Feeling suicidal

6. Crying spells

While professional help is mandated in managing PPD, support and empathy from the family and friends help greatly in overcoming it. The new mothers should take it slowly and not shy away from talking to someone about it. The new mother may feel embarrassed, ashamed, or guilty about feeling depressed when they are supposed to be happy. Many times, talking about it with our dear ones helps us gather their experiences of it which can be helpful in normalizing it. Remember, you did great throughout your pregnancy. Your mind and body went through a lot of changes due to this. You don’t have to suffer in silence when there’s help available.

Santhoshini Datla

I have a post graduate degree in Applied Psychology followed by 4yrs of clinical experience in Indian Naval Hospital Kalyani and NHS United Kingdom. In the last few years, I have been delivering evidence based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for depression, anxiety and other stress related psychological issues. Psychological well-being is not just mere absence of mental illness but also having good quality of life. There are days when we all feel down, demotivated and lost which is absolutely normal. But if it goes on for a significant period of time and starts affecting your daily life then that it when we need professional help. In psychological therapy I would be helping in making sense of why you feel the way you feel, facilitate you to make better healthier choices, help you learn to think in a way thats more helpful for your mental health and with an overall aim of making clients more independent so much so that they are confident of dealing with challenging situations in the future themselves.