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Postpartum Depression: How does it affect motherhood? Expert explains

Mothers' mental health deserves our attention and support. Understanding their challenges and the impact on their well-being allows us to create a nurturing environment.

Written By : Health Desk Edited By : Kristina Das
New Delhi
Published on: January 10, 2024 14:15 IST
postpartum depression
Image Source : FREEPIK Know how postpartum depression affects motherhood.

Motherhood is a fulfilling experience, but it comes with challenges that can affect mental well-being. We must address the mental health concerns faced by mothers, as it directly impacts family dynamics.

According to Dr Pankaj Borade, Consultant Psychiatrist, at Ruby Hall Clinic, one such health concern is Postpartum depression (PPD). It can be triggered by a combination of physical, emotional, and lifestyle factors that create challenges for new mothers. One significant factor is hormonal fluctuations. The abrupt drop in estrogen and progesterone levels after childbirth can affect neurotransmitters, contributing to mood swings and depressive symptoms. Sleep deprivation, inherent in the care of a newborn is another substantial factor. Lack of sleep can disrupt hormonal balance and exacerbate feelings of exhaustion and overwhelm.

While being a mother is a rewarding experience, new motherhood, with its overwhelming nature and societal expectations, can be a breeding ground for postpartum depression (PPD). The pressure to meet perceived standards intensifies the challenges faced by new mothers. Timely recognition of PPD signs, including persistent hopelessness, appetite changes, and difficulty bonding with the baby, is crucial for providing support. Postpartum depression is a clinical condition affecting some women after childbirth, emphasizing the need for understanding and addressing its multifaceted impact on mental health. Furthermore, with PPD arises a whole lot of struggles such as - Juggling multiple responsibilities like childcare, household chores, and work, which can lead to an overwhelming sense of being stretched too thin. It can also result to experiencing in excessive worry and fear regarding their children's safety, well-being, and ability to fulfil their parental roles, creating self-doubt and self-worth. 

Here are a few ways to manage emotions:

Mothers need to prioritise their mental well-being to ensure a healthy and balanced family environment. Here are some strategies to help mothers focus on their mental health:

  1. Seek support: Build a support network of family, friends, or other mothers who can provide emotional support and understanding. Joining parenting groups or seeking therapy can also be beneficial.
  2. Self-care: Make self-care a priority by engaging in activities that bring joy and relaxation, such as exercise, hobbies, reading, or spending time in nature.
  3. Set boundaries: Establish boundaries to prevent burnout. Learn to say no when necessary and delegate responsibilities to other family members or caregivers.
  4. Prioritise sleep: Getting enough rest is crucial for mental well-being. Create a sleep routine that allows for sufficient sleep, and consider seeking assistance with nighttime childcare duties.
  5. Practice self-compassion: Be kind to yourself and acknowledge that it's okay to make mistakes. Practice self-compassion and let go of unrealistic expectations of perfection.

By prioritising self-care, seeking support, and embracing resilience, mothers can enhance their mental health and create a positive family environment. Let us empower mothers to prioritise their well-being and embrace the joys of motherhood.

Caretakers can play a key role in helping with the emotions by educating themselves about PPD to understand its symptoms, causes, and treatment options. This knowledge will help you provide informed support. One needs to be kind, lovable, understanding, and patient with a woman going through PPD. Yelling, screaming, or calling out would just make things worse for her. It is okay to offer reassurance when things go out of hand and provide comfort and assistance with some daily tasks. It could go a long way to encourage her to rest and tell her everything is okay by just listening and being there.

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