A few days after childbirth, many women are depressed and unhappy – this is so-called depression after childbirth. This depression is so common that it is almost a natural part of pregnancy and probably has several causes. Sudden hormonal changes in your body (due to childbirth) may harm your mood and create an anti-climax feeling after the events you have been expecting for months. You are very tired, even a little scared, and you have no confidence. But this mood will change with the support and understanding of friends and relatives.
It is quite normal that you will feel slightly depressed in the first weeks of maternity. The inevitable tiredness you feel as you take care of your baby, the sudden change in lifestyle, the feeling that your circle of friends has narrowed while you have been doing (with a baby) so much – all this contributes to the bad mood.
Some women feel so depressed after childbirth, they are not able to take care about themselves or their children. Such depression (see depression article) usually begins about a month after childbirth. Symptoms are fatigue, a feeling of failure and a lack of ability to ”act” like a mother, and very often aggressiveness towards the child, probably caused by excessive crying that triggers the feeling of guilt. Such a woman can lose the sense of her appearance and neglect herself and her home, retreat into herself and move away from others, lose appetite, or, sometimes, do just the opposite – start eating too much.
What to do?
Your main goal should be to avoiding excessive fatigue. If a child is with you in the same room, you will not only be bothered by baby’s cry when he is hungry, but also his uneasy sleep as well as various sounds while he/she is awake. Since you need as much sleep as possible, you must move your baby to the next room as soon as possible. Do not be afraid that you will not hear the baby when he is crying.
You also have to arrange a shift system with your spouse, i.e. alternately take care of the baby if it is restless or crying. Ask your friends or relatives to help you over the day, e.g. go shopping or look after your baby while you’re getting some rest. If you are depressed, try to share your concerns with your partner or the close person who will listen to you. Another mother, who also has a small baby, may be able to help you with that. If even after these measures you can not get rid of depression, if you are not able to take care of your baby properly and lose interest in everything, you need to contact your doctor. He will prescribe you an antidepressant. If you have severe depression, your doctor will recommend hospital treatment. If necessary, you or your partner must ask a doctor to refer you to a hospital that has a mother and child department, no matter how far away the hospital is. Even though you think your child may be the cause of your illness, separation from your child in that stage could make it difficult to establish a close relationship with it.