Are you a new mother or father experiencing crying spells after delivering your bundle of joy? Or are you a new parent looking for answers about your partner’s recent mood swings?
Postnatal depression is quite a common issue that both mothers and fathers can experience. There is no single cause as to why it happens. But it ends up affecting more than one in every ten women within a year of giving birth.
What you need to know, as a parent or partner, is that this type of depression is completely normal.
For the rest of this article, we’ll unpack what you need to know about postnatal depression, and how to treat it.
What causes post natal depression?
While there is no leading reason as to what causes post natal depression, there are physical and emotional factors that do play a role.
Physical causes: After childbirth, it’s natural for a drop in hormones (estrogen and progesterone) that can lead to certain postnatal depression symptoms – tiredness, sluggishness, and depression.
Emotional causes: Waking up at all hours of the night can make you sleep-deprived and overwhelmed. You might also feel anxious about your ability to take care of your baby or feel like you’ve lost control. Relationship difficulties or lack of support can also contribute to depression.
Postnatal depression can be caused by multiple reasons. But even if you haven’t experienced any of these things, raising a baby is still a life-changing event!
Looking after a newborn is exhausting and taxing. Also, it can take time to adapt to your new role as a parent. It’s common if you feel distressed, frantic.
How long does postnatal depression last?
Postnatal depression can last for months or years if left untreated, so it’s different for everyone. But if you’re exposed to certain risk factors or have severe symptoms, it might last longer.
Risk factors can include:
- History of mental health illness, either during pregnancy or before
- Genetic history of postnatal depression from other pregnancy
- Having a family history of mental health illness
- Recent stressful experiences, such as pregnancy complications, loss of a job
- Your baby having health complications or other special needs
- Having multiple births, like twins
- The pregnancy was unplanned or unwanted
It’s difficult to assess whether a parent will experience postnatal depression, and for how long. But the right treatment, especially taken early, can help alleviate one of these factors.
How to help someone with postnatal depression
- Exercise and eat healthy: Gaining those endorphins and looking after yourself can be the first step to lifting your spirits.
- Schedule “me” time: A new baby on top of your responsibilities can make you feel spread too thin. Therefore, it’s important to carve out time for yourself. Why not schedule an hour for a bubble bath once a day? Partners can help by looking after the baby while you relax!
- Get more rest: With a newborn waking you up at all hours of the night, it’s hardly surprising that you or your partner is more emotional. Why not go for a snooze whenever the baby does? Partners can take up more of the late-night shift until you feel more rested.
- Counselling: You might find yourself feeling lighter after venting to a licensed professional. You can also find solutions to your problems. Group therapy, with other mothers and fathers experiencing postnatal depression, will also make you feel less alone.
Postnatal depression is a mental health issue that many new parents experience. Physical and emotional factors can contribute, so it’s completely normal if you or your partner is feeling this way.
But with combatting this type of depression, you might find it beneficial for you and your partner to make some lifestyle changes. You might also consider therapy as an option, like SupportRoom.
With covering what is postnatal depression and useful information behind it, we hope you or your partner can truly embrace the joys of being parents!