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Having a baby requires around the clock care which can make you feel super tired, overwhelmed and worried at times. Your body and lifestyle have experienced so many rapid changes in which it may be difficult to handle and adapt to at times.
Within the first two weeks after giving birth, emotions of worry, unhappiness and exhaustion are normal – they’re called ‘the baby blues.’ However, if feelings of anxiety and unhappiness become severe or last longer than 2 weeks, it is possible you may have postpartum depression. It is recommended that women who may be experiencing post-partum depression seek professional treatment.
Britney Spears created a post via Instagram 12th April 2022, explaining her journey with perinatal depression. She explained that when she was last pregnant, she suffered with perinatal depression and feels [grateful] that these days, women don’t have to keep their pain a secret anymore.
“When I was pregnant I had perinatal depression … I have to say it is absolutely horrible … women didn’t talk about it back then … some people considered it dangerous if a woman complained like that with a baby inside her … but now women talk about it everyday … thank Jesus we don’t have to keep that pain a reserved proper secret”
Perinatal depression includes both prenatal (during pregnancy) and postpartum (after childbirth) depression as the term refers to the time before and after the birth of a child. This means that perinatal depression can affect women during pregnancy and after childbirth. Mothers who experience perinatal depression may encounter feelings of extreme sadness, anxiety and fatigue that may hinder their quality of life and ability to complete daily tasks such as caring for themselves and/or their baby past two weeks post-childbirth.
Perinatal depression is a real mental illness that can affect any mother regardless of age, race, income, culture or education. It is out of a woman’s control why she may experience perinatal depression, it is not brought on by anything she has or has not done.
Research suggests that perinatal depression may be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. These may include life stress, the physical and emotional demands of childbearing and carrying a baby, as well as changes in hormones that occur during and after pregnancy. It is important to consider that women who have a personal or family history of depression or bipolar disorder, may be more likely to experience perinatal depression.
Some women experience only a few symptoms of perinatal depression whereas other women may experience several symptoms. Some of these symptoms may include:
Only a medical professional can determine whether a new mom may be experiencing these symptoms due to perinatal depression or something else. It is highly encouraged that if you are experiencing any of these symptoms, that you see a health care provider.
Treatment of perinatal depression is important for both the mother and the baby. Many women feel better after receiving treatment and their symptoms begin to ease. Treatment generally includes therapy, medications or both. If these treatment options do not reduce symptoms there are alternative brain simulation therapies that you may undergo.
As Britney Spears said, people talk about perinatal depression every day - it isn’t a secret anymore. It may be extremely painful, however there are support systems in place to help you and your baby through this difficult chapter in your life. You are never alone; you are not the only one and you are certainly not a bad mother for having perinatal depression. It IS normal and it is ok. If you are experiencing perinatal depression or know someone that is, we highly encourage you to talk to your doctor.
Medical Disclaimer: Articles are intended for informational purposes only and should not be used as the basis of patient treatment. Ask a medical professional if you have any health-related questions or concerns.
National Institute of Mental Health. (n.d). Perinatal Depression. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/perinatal-depression