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Having a baby is, without a doubt, a rollercoaster of emotions. It is a lifelong journey but the excitement begins at the stage of pregnancy itself. As days go by, the level of excitement only soars up as the time to meet your baby comes closer. Once your bundle of joy is here, you go through the feeling of happiness mixed with nervousness, hoping that you’re able to make the best decision while also looking forward to the years to come.
However, there is one part of motherhood that no one talks about: the mental health of a new mother. You see, it is normal to feel a little lost in the first few weeks. Many call it the ‘baby blues’.
It is characterised by mood swings, bouts of crying, feeling anxious and even fatigued. However, these symptoms seem to fade within the first six weeks. But, there are many mums who will find that these continue and with growing intensity even after the initial weeks. This could point to postpartum depression.
Here are some signs of postpartum depression that point to the fact that you need to visit a mental health professional:
1. Not being able to bond with the baby
Once the baby is here, you will realise that they have their own personality and preferences. You will get to know them better by bonding with them while breastfeeding, putting them to sleep, and indulging them during play-time.
While this is important from the aspect of your baby’s social development given that a strong bond between child and parent fosters a sense of security and confidence—it is also important because it leads to the release of hormones needed for brain development.
But, if you’re not able to do so even after trying, it could affect your baby’s physical and mental health. So, it would be advisable to seek help from a mental health professional who could guide you about how to go about bonding with your baby.
2. Feelings of guilt or inadequacy
Feeling like you’re not doing enough or you’re not a good mother are big markers of postpartum depression. No matter what you do, negative thoughts of guilt and inadequacy take over. This, in turn, pushes you deeper into depression. Moreover, it can also have a lasting impact on your relationship with your child.
3. Withdrawing from your loved ones
Now, a new mother can obviously not devote enough time to her social life. However, if you find that you’re not responding to your close friends and family or, have the urge to isolate yourself from them—it could point to early signs of postpartum depression.
Not just friends and family, depression could also be causing you to distance yourself from your partner which isn’t healthy given that he’s going to be your other half during this journey of parenthood.
4. Unhealthy thoughts
If left untreated, postpartum depression can lead to unhealthy thoughts that can involve hurting yourself or even the baby. It is important that you visit a professional for help if you’re having such thoughts given that it could lead to you posing a threat to your life or the life of your child.
If you’ve been experiencing these symptoms, ensure that you visit a mental health professional. Postpartum depression is common and can be treated, as long as you’re willing to seek help.