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The most significant moment possibly for any woman is when she becomes a mother. Holding and seeing a part of yourself in your arms gives you the utmost joy. Rightly said, It’s the greatest gift of the world!
However, it is taxing, to raise a baby, especially for mothers. It alters their whole life. Babies, need their mother’s attention more, in the initial stages of growth. And for women, the era of changes begins with pregnancy, and continues till the time children reach an independent age. From permanent physical changes, to constant running after the little one, their lives change.
Ironically, having a baby doesn’t only bring joy for some women. There are some mothers who experience sadness, anxiety and other behavioural changes.
However this should not be confused with just another “thing” that every mother goes through.
It may turn out to be Postpartum Disorder (PPD). Postpartum depression (PPD) is a brief depression related to pregnancy and childbirth. It comes in two forms: early onset that is commonly referred to as the “baby blues’ and late onset.
According to statistics, the early onset type affects as many as 80% women after their delivery. It is usually resolved without any medical treatment, within one to two weeks.
The stage of later onset form is a more serious and prolonged one. It starts affecting the woman’s ability to carry out her daily life. And it requires serious medical attention.
- Feeling sad, hopeless, empty, or overwhelmed
- Abnormal anxiety levels
- Feeling moody, irritable, or restless
- Oversleeping, or being unable to sleep at all (even when the baby is asleep)
- Having trouble concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
- Experiencing anger or rage
- Suffering from physical aches and pains, including frequent headaches, stomach problems, and muscle pain
- Eating too little or too much
- Withdrawing from or avoiding friends and family
- Having trouble bonding or forming an emotional attachment with the baby
- Persistently doubting ability to care of the baby
- Thinking about harming self or the baby
It must be noted that as most of the symptoms occur very commonly amongst women, therefore it does not mean that whoever shows such symptoms is necessarily suffering from the disorder. It is therefore advised to go to a health care practitioner for diagnosis, if these symptoms persist for some time.
While any woman can fall victim to the disorder, there are some factors or reasons why some women might be more susceptible to it.
These women include the ones who are in disturbed familial relationships, lack support from family or spouse, have a history of drug and alcohol abuse, have experienced a stressful event in life before or during pregnancy.
The treatment involves counselling or medication or both, depending upon the woman’s condition. If not treated soon, it may assume serious outcomes. It may affect the woman’s health, and the growth of her child.
A common reaction in our society to post delivery depression is that “things get fine with time”. In our country where a woman is more than just a mother, where she is bound by numerous duties and responsibilities, at home and work, it becomes essential to increase awareness about the disorder. We use the term ‘depression’ in common parlance so often that most of us don’t know when someone is actually suffering from it.
The “theek ho jaaega” attitude needs to be done away with and pro longed symptoms of depression demands some serious attention.
Being labelled as Mad or Sick
Going to a counsellor is not something to be ashamed of. Consulting a psychologist is a taboo in India and usually people are afraid to approach counsellors or psychiatrists even when they need help. However, professionals have the right way to deal with these issues.
It is important that would be parents be aware of this kind of a disease that is common amongst Indian women. A good mental health of the woman in the family ensures success, stability and a better future for the entire family.
Do send in your comments if you have any experiences to cite.