In an interview with Miss Rebecca Akinkuade, an expert and a lead volunteer for Postpartum Network Africa (PSN), has disclosed what Postpartum depression (PPD) is and who is at risk of suffering from the depression.
What is Postpartum depression? Are the ‘baby blues’ the same thing as Postpartum depression?
Postpartum depression is a mood disorder that can affect women after childbirth. Mothers with postpartum depression experience feelings of extreme sadness, anxiety and exhaustion that may make it difficult for them to complete their daily care activities for themselves or for their loved ones.
What causes postpartum depression?
There are no biological facts about the causes of postpartum depression but there are multiple factors that can cause it which I will give few
– the levels of hormone in a woman’s body quickly drop after childbirth and it can lead to changes in her brain that may trigger mood swings
– emotional tribulations which also means lack of emotional support
-Finances – when things are tight and no means of getting the baby the essential things needed
– circumstances surrounding the conception of the baby
Who is at risk of getting postpartum depression?
First time mothers, young mothers or old mothers are more at risk of suffering from postpartum depression. Also, the women who are at risk of getting postpartum depression are women who lack social support, in an unstable relationship with their spouse, women who have traumatic birth experience or suffer from miscarriage, with low self-esteem etc.
Why do women get postpartum depression?
No one can really ascertain why women suffer from it but there are risk factors (people that are more at risk of suffering from postpartum depression which I have mentioned earlier). However, it can happen to anybody, including men. Know that it is not a spiritual attack neither a myth. It is real and it is not made up. Study shows that at least one in seven new mothers suffer from postpartum depression and up to 50% of women with PPD are never detected and women who have had one episode of PPD have a 50% chance of experiencing it again with a second pregnancy.
Do fathers experience PPD?
Yes, they do. One in 10 men experience depression during the pregnancy or after his baby is born The symptoms are; tiredness, pain or headaches, lack of appetite, trouble sleeping or sleeping and waking up at odd times, weight loss or gain, trouble concentrating at work or working for longer hours, irritability or anger, engaging in risky behaviour (gambling or engaging in extra marital affairs), substance abuse (drugs or alcohol) amongst others.
What are the signs of postpartum depression?
. Feeling sad, hopeless, empty or overwhelmed
. Crying more than usual or for no apparent reason
. Worrying or feeling overly anxious
. Feeling moody, irritable or restless
. Oversleeping or being unable to sleep even when the baby is sleeping
. Having trouble concentrating, remembering details and making decisions
. Experiencing anger or rage
. Losing interest in activities that are usually enjoyable
. Eating too little or eating too much
. Withdrawing from or avoiding friends and family
. Having trouble bonding or forming an emotional attachment with her baby
. Persistently doubting her ability to care for her baby
. Thinking about harming herself or her baby.
How is postpartum depression treated?
. Taking enough rest cause stress itself affects the brain plus it’s well known that taking care of a newborn is not easy
. Exercise well and I don’t mean rigorous exercise (the body is still tender), taking a stroll, checking up on loved ones or hanging out with friends
. Counseling / medication: it depends on how severe the situation is, for some all they would need is counseling while for some other mothers they would need medication and counseling together.
What can I do to take better care of myself if I get postpartum depression?
The major thing to do is to speak out. I mean confide in someone you know you can trust. You can contact us; Instagram- @psnafrica. Facebook – postpartum support network or you can send us an email – firstname.lastname@example.org and we would take it up from there and treatment with us is absolutely free cause our major aim @psnafrica is to provide support for mother’s experiencing postpartum moods disorder and like I said before it’s absolutely free
Also, to add to it, postpartum depression when it’s not well treated, can lead to postpartum psychosis that Yoruba refer to as “abisinwin” and some people do think it’s a spiritual attack but it is not an attack.