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Motherhood and Postpartum Depression

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By guest blogger Sarah Mutuku

Writer

Motherhood is arguably the greatest joy a woman can ever experience. The love and bond she shares with her child is the strongest and probably one of the world’s wonders that still amazes us. However, one thing that we tend to ignore is the challenges that come with this journey. But are we to blame? Society, particularly the online space, has painted motherhood as an easy thing to do, with pictures of glowing babies all over the social media sites. As a professional, and as a parent, I can tell you that it isn’t that easy. It is an overwhelming role that can drag a mother to a deep mental health crisis, especially Postpartum Depression.

What is Postpartum Depression?

Have you ever heard of a new mother getting irritated by her baby instead of bonding? Well, she could probably be suffering from Postpartum Depression. It is the type of depression that occurs shortly after giving birth. Its major symptoms are feeling too high emotional (sadness and hopelessness), anxiousness, fatigue, and irritability. Physical signs include loss of appetite and sleep and severe or mild headaches.

What Causes Postpartum Depression?

Postpartum depression causes a range of issues from biological to physical factors. Significantly, pregnancies are characterized by high production of hormones, which may drop after childbirth. The drastic hormonal change is what causes the sudden mood change that slowly accumulates to depression. The environment which a mother is in may cause her to suffer from postpartum depression. For example, let’s consider a mother that has had a baby recently that won’t stop crying, yet she is alone with no support. This mother is likely to get depressed because she lacks support to attend to her baby. Also, issues related to financial and social wellbeing can cause a lot of stress to a mother.

Is Postpartum Treatable?

Luckily, this condition is manageable and treatable. The new mother should seek professional counseling services to help her get on track. The counseling is also necessary to provide insights regarding how the mother’s support system can help her get out of the crisis, as the mother needs to have a solid support system to help with the baby while she has time to rest and build her mental strength. Her family, partner or close friends would hopefully be available to relieve the stress of dealing with the inner turmoil of dealing with post partum depression on top of the expectations and pressures that come with having a new born baby.

Fundamentally, postpartum depression is a dangerous condition if not handled in time. The mother’s mood swings can progress to make her capable of harming herself and her baby. However, it should be understood that the condition is not shameful, and it is treatable; thus, I urge new mothers to seek help from qualified professionals whenever they feel overwhelmed. As for us, the rest of the community, let’s be available to help where we can.

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