Postpartum depression a guide for new parents Postpartum depression a guide for new parents

The article is developed in partnership with BetterHelp.

Bringing a new life into this world is an entire dramatic emotion overload. From feeling so joyful while holding a baby for the first time to the pressure of managing the new role, one experiences a wide range of feelings after childbirth. It’s a complete roller coaster ride of emotion for a few days.

However, for some parents’ journeys take an unexpected turn that is known as postpartum depression.

Postpartum depression is a mental health condition that is being seen by 15 percent of new parents. Hence, it’s essential to recognize the signs and look for help when you or someone you love is in the same state.

While most focus on the parent giving birth and the procedures, recent research also covers the common challenges that parents face as well.

Let’s take a look at what postpartum depression is, how it affects both partners, and what steps are required to deal with it. 

What is Postpartum Depression?

Postpartum depression, also known as peripartum depression, is a form of depression that mostly impacts the new parents after the birth of a child. It’s not a sign of weakness; rather, it’s a complication from the hormonal and emotional changes after childbirth.

Many new parents experience the “baby blues” shortly after the first delivery. These moving feelings of sadness, anxiety, and mood swings are at their peak during the first few days and first two weeks. But for some parents, these symptoms persist, indicating a more serious condition.

The Marathon of New Parenthood

Pregnancy and the arrival of a newborn is a lot of experiences emotions and increased responsibilities. As first-time parents, you may find yourselves moving between work, household chores, medical appointments, and getting ready for childbirth. Many new parents often feel pressured to maintain a relaxed and normal moo during such a period.

But it’s important to understand that it’s normal to feel such a range of emotions at this time, and it’s okay not to feel happy every time.

New Perspectives on Postpartum Depression

Recent Research shows that parents, despite their gender, can face postpartum depression. Whereas most attention is on mothers, new studies have revealed that male postpartum depression is common in between 7 and 9 percent of new fathers.

The signs of the same may include feelings of sadness, worry, low energy, irritability, and difficult connection with the newborn.

Diagnosis and Tests

Health care providers normally diagnose postpartum depression by understanding the indication during postpartum visits. They may try screening tools like the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale to accurately deal with the situation.

Management and Treatment

Treatment for postpartum depression varies based on its conditions. The options include medication, psychotherapy, and participation in support groups. It’s important to talk about the treatment options with healthcare providers.

Recognizing the Signs

Postpartum depression can show up in many ways, which range from mild to serious symptoms. It’s important to recognize these signs early to get help and support, and that for both partners. The common signs may include constant feelings of sadness or anxiety, rapid mood swings, changes in eating or sleeping habits and difficulty with the newborn. 

When you or your partner are experiencing these symptoms, this is time to seek help from a healthcare professional.

Some common symptoms include the following:

  • Persistent feelings of sadness or mood swings
  • Difficulty bonding with the baby
  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • Changes in appetite or sleeping patterns
  • Overwhelming fatigue or loss of energy
  • Intense irritability or anger
  • Thoughts of harming oneself or the baby

Postpartum Psychosis: A Rare but Serious Condition

In rare cases, postpartum psychosis can evolve, categorized by severe symptoms such as confusion, hallucinations, and delusions. This condition requires immediate medical attention to make sure the safety of both the parent and the baby.

Why Some Parents Shy Away from Getting Help

Many new parents hesitate to seek help while facing postpartum depression, which is due to feelings of guilt, shame or belief. As they also prioritize the needs of their child over their own. However, untreated depression has a long-term impact on both the parent and the child as well. Infants seek love, care, and healthy routines, the same as it’s also important to focus on parents going through the symptoms of depression. Seeking help is not only a must for the parent’s health but also for the child’s overall well-being.

Teamwork for Family-Based Healing

The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests screening for depression in both birth parents during and after pregnancy. Treatment options may include social support, therapy, medication, and maintaining healthy habits like proper nutrition, exercise, and sleep better at night.

Mothers and fathers must pay attention to postpartum depression if they feel so. Fathers may also experience such symptoms, mainly when they have a history of depression or other issues.

Shedding Light on Dad’s Mental Health

Research says that about one in 10 dads struggle with male postpartum depression and anxiety. Despite being less talked about, dads’ postpartum depression is rising and we need to get serious about it.

Health care providers are now motivating the screenings for postpartum depression not only for mothers but for fathers as well.

Postpartum depression in dads could show up before or after the baby is born. Whereas in mom’s case it shows up within a few weeks after delivery. For dads, it might take a bit longer – sometimes up to three months after the baby arrives.

Factors like hormonal changes, feeling disconnected from mom and baby, and a history of depression can all result in male postpartum depression.

When to Seek Help

If you’re experiencing an indication of postpartum depression that goes beyond two weeks, and feel like it worsens over time, this might interfere with your ability to care for your baby. That you shouldn’t hesitate to seek medical attention. Furthermore, when you have thoughts of harming yourself or your baby, this is the time to seek help immediately.

With professional help, most individuals with postpartum depression effectively overcome their indications. So, it’s important to ask for help when your symptoms last beyond two weeks or if you have thoughts of hurting yourself or your baby.

You’re Not Alone

Postpartum depression can feel isolating, but it’s important to know that you’re not alone. Whether you’re a new parent going through these challenges, reaching out for genuine support is the first step toward healing.

Remember – postpartum depression can affect any parent, not just the mother. Both partners should have genuine access to support and treatment. If you or your partner are feeling those thoughts of self-harm or harming the baby, immediately get help from a healthcare professional.

Or if you find out that someone in your connection is struggling with postpartum depression or postpartum psychosis, don’t waste time waiting. You can encourage them to seek medical help and offer your support to get over it.

Together, we can deal with the stigma surrounding postpartum depression and make sure that all parents have access to the care and support they need in this journey. 

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