Tag: pregnancy depression

Can I get Postpartum Depression after the first year?

New Mom and Baby in the postpartum period

Lately we have had moms getting in touch with us to ask, “Can I get Postpartum Depression (PPD) after the first year?” This is almost always followed by their own admission that their kids are above 1 year, but they do not still feel like themselves, and they wanted to know if we would help.

Granted, it is not possible to make a diagnosis over the phone, neither is it possible to offer a general statement for all of the moms who reach out to ask for help. To answer this question, it is imperative to define postpartum depression as one of the perinatal anxiety and mood disorders.

What is Postpartum depression?

A literature review on the WHO website defines postpartum depression as a common mood disorder that affects moms up to the first year after child birth. Contrary to popular belief, PPD does not just affect moms with newborns. Since it lasts up to a year after birth, it can affect moms whose kids are way past the infancy stage. Additionally, the ‘one year after delivery’ time frame is not cast in stone either.

Read More: Depression during pregnancy – here’s what you need to know

There is mounting evidence that in many cases, PPD could be the result of mental illness that remained undiagnosed before the pregnancy. An article in the Journal of Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience underpins these findings:


The onset of PPD is usually within the first few months after childbirth, although some women report onset of symptoms during pregnancy. 

For some moms, antenatal depression (also known as pregnancy depression) that is left untreated may also progress to PPD. When you consider the numerous changes that a woman’s body goes through during the postpartum period, it is easy to see why pre-existing mental illness can get severe. These changes include drastic hormonal changes, lack of sleep, lochia, breastfeeding and all the typical stressors that come with new motherhood.

The Postpartum Period

According to Postpartum Progress, the use of prepartum and postpartum typically refers to the period during pregnancy and in the year after delivery. It is important, however, to mention that certain stressors may lead to the characteristic symptoms of PPD even after the one year mark. These stressors may include sleep deprivation, weaning from breastfeeding, financial constraints and abuse among others.

As Postpartum Progress explains, “A postpartum episode of depression or anxiety can be triggered by one or more of the above. While they aren’t aware of this when they first call, most of these moms can trace their initial symptoms back to the earliest moments of motherhood.”

Why is all this important? It matters that moms have this information. It is easy to feel resigned to fate – the fate of not been able to enjoy motherhood. Some moms will even wonder whether they are ‘too silly’ or ‘too emotional’ to ask for help and support. Time continues to pass by, with each day bringing more overwhelm and anxiety.

How will I know whether it is Postpartum Depression or the Baby Blues?

The truth is that there is no shame in having Postpartum depression, whether you are a mama to a newborn or a one-year old. It doesn’t matter what age your baby is – if you feel like you need help it is best to talk to someone.

Many new moms will often wonder if what they are experiencing is the baby blues or postpartum depression. We have previously covered this topic, which you can read in this post. But to provide a rundown, the baby blues are a short-lived condition in which a new mom may feel emotional/ overwhelmed/ weepy after having a baby. This condition typically lasts for about two weeks, and therefore requires no treatment.

Read More: These are the symptoms of Postpartum Depression to look out for

PPD however, is more intense and interferes with a mom’s ability to carry out daily activities and bond with her baby. PPD lasts up to a year (or longer if undiagnosed), and therefore requires medical attention. It is also one of the most common maternal mental illnesses, affecting about 1 in every 7 mothers. Many moms tend to think that PPD is ‘not that severe’ and ‘will pass on its own’. This is not true, as moms with PPD need help and support to make a recovery.

PS: We share information, resources and events regularly on our social media pages. Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter as we raise awareness on maternal mental illness.

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8 Things No One Tells you About Pregnancy

Pregnant woman holding belly

D-day is nearing, and you are likely counting down to the birth of your baby. You have scoured the internet to read up on every article about pregnancy. You have also likely signed up for a lamaze class, and watched every birthing video you can stand. The truth is that amidst these preparations, there are still many things that moms-to-be do not learn before delivery. We are here to let you in on 8 things no one tells you about pregnancy.

  1. You may experience emotional upheavals

Whether due to the upsurge of pregnancy hormones, or just the sheer thought of bringing new life to these world, your emotions will likely be all over the place. Pregnancy is expected to be a happy time. Moms-to-be are expected to be filled with excitement for the coming bundle of joy. This is not always the case. Many pregnant women will experience fluctuating emotions, and a number may develop pregnancy depression.

Read More: Depression during pregnancy – what you need to know

  1. You will experience increased vaginal discharge

Many pregnant women will experience increased vaginal discharge. This is attributed to changes in the cervix. During pregnancy, the cervix and vaginal walls begin to soften. This allows the body to produce increased discharge to prevent infections. In the later stages of pregnancy, the baby’s head adds pressure to the cervix. This also increases the production of the discharge. It is important for pregnant women to note that this vaginal discharge is normal. It is called leukorrhea, and has a thin milky consistency with a mild smell.

  1. Your birth plan may not go how you envision it

Many moms-to-be will create a birth plan to help with preparation for labour and delivery. While this is a good idea, the truth is that delivery does not always go the way you want it to. The process of childbirth can be very unpredictable. Sudden turns of events may call for an unplanned emergency c-section. The most important thing to remember is that having a healthy baby and healthy mother is what matters. The mode of delivery does not define you as a mom. As such, it helps to be open minded about it.

  1. It is a whole new season of adjustments with breastfeeding.

New moms will often experience cracked nipples. Now, picture cracked nipples, and a little clueless human being trying to latch. This is HARD. And on many days, you will want to give up, because sore bloody nipples are not anyone’s cup of tea. Good old Vaseline will be your friend, amidst all the shrieks and tears. It does get better over time!

  1. You will experience lochia

Lochia is the medical term that refers to the vaginal discharge after birth. This discharge contains blood, tissue from the uterine lining and bacteria. Some women will experience cramps too, so painkillers will come in handy.

To contain the lochia, you will need to wear a mommy diaper. This comes in two variations: the mesh underwear that comes with a maxi-pad or the adult diaper. Both options can be used as they are. The use of ice is optional, but helps to soothe the soreness. Many hospitals will often provide the mommy diapers, but you may want to carry a pack or two in your hospital bag.

What you need to know when pregnant
Pregnant? Here are 8 things you should know

  1. You may have to re-invent your wardrobe

As the pregnancy progresses, you will need to change a few clothing items. This allows for comfort in the last trimester. Depending on your choice, the clothes may also double up as nursing wear for easy breastfeeding. Invest in button-down blouses, zipped tops and comfortable pants in the first few weeks after birth.

  1. You may not experience that magical bond with your child immediately

Not all moms will have an instant bond with their child. This may happen due to the trauma of labor, or depression during pregnancy. Sometimes, it happens simply because of the overwhelming experience that this new chapter represents. And that is okay, to a certain extent.

Baby blues are fairly common, and will often die down on their own. In Postpartum Depression however, these blues only intensify. They have a vice-like grip on any mom, and will often wash up like mighty waves on the shore of your heart. If you do experience this, do not be afraid to get medical attention. There is no shame in asking for help.

Read More: When moms are unable to bond with their infants

  1. The kids will grow

In spite of the challenges at the onset, the kids grow. It is easy to get lost in the overwhelming duties of taking care of a newborn. The unending diaper changes and sleepless nights can easily take a toll on new moms.

The different stages may feel like they last forever. The truth is they don’t. As often as you can, try to live and enjoy the moments. Remember to take care of yourself too. You cannot pour from an empty cup.

 

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9 Myths about Postpartum Depression

Postpartum Depression (PPD) is one of the most common maternal mental illness, as it affects 1 in every 5 moms. Yet, it is also often misunderstood, and this only adds to the stigma that makes it harder for moms to reach out for help. Affected moms will typically hear nasty things said to them about having a mental illness – from family, friends, co-workers and even ignorant healthcare providers. This creates myths which portray affected moms in bad light and leads to shame that prevents moms from speaking out.

The truth is that there is no shame in having a mental illness. Postpartum Depression is a treatable condition; it is temporary provided a mom gets professional help. This is what makes it important to sift through the myths and understand facts about PPD while encouraging moms to get professional help. Advocating for maternal mental health goes a long way in sensitizing the community and reminding moms that they are not alone.

Below are some myths that moms need not here anymore, alongside facts that every one needs to know about.

1.Myth: PPD is a visible illness

Fact: PPD is NOT a visible illness & while some moms may not be able to get out of bed, bond with baby or even clean the house, not all moms present this way. Some moms appear well put together on the surface, but may be struggling on the inside.

Read More: What are the symptoms of Postpartum Depression?

2. Myth: PPD occurs immediately after birth

Fact: Upto 80% of new moms experience baby blues, a mild condition characterized by moodiness, crying episodes, difficulty sleeping and worries. This typically lasts up to 2 weeks; since the condition is mild, it tends to resolve on its own without requiring treatment. PPD however, is more severe, lasts longer and requires treatment. The most important thing to note is that PPD symptoms can appear at anytime during the first yr after birth. Many moms are confused when they start to notice symptoms of PPD months later, yet PPD may occur at anytime in the first 12 months.

3. Myth: PPD is a mom’s fault/ happens because of something a mom did

Fact: PPD is a real mental illness and NOT something a mom chooses to have. Affected moms often blame themselves foe having PPD when they cannot experience the mythical magic of motherhood. The truth is that PPD is caused by a number of factors (hormonal, psychological and social), all of which a new mom has no control over. To say PPD is a mom’s fault is grossly inaccurate and unfounded. PPD is not a mom’s fault.

4. Myth: PPD is a sign of weakness/laziness/bad motherhood

Fact: There is no truth in this. PPD is NOT a measure of strengthor how hard working a new mom is neither is it a reflection of her mothering skills. PPD is a mental illness for which professional help is available

5. Myth: Pregnant women cannot get depressed

Fact: 1 in 10 expectant women will get pregnancy depression. Pregnancy in itself, does not mean that a mom-to-be cannot get depression. Just like PPD, there are many risk factors associated with this form of depression (also known as pregnancy depression).Left unchecked, pregnancy depression almost always leads to PPD

Read More: Depression during pregnancy and what you need to know

6. Myth: PPD will go away on its own/ is something you can snap out of

Contrary to popular belief, PPD (and other maternal mental illnesses) is not something a mom can ‘just get over’. If it were that simple and straightforward, so many moms wouldn’t be suffering in the first place. This is a common, yet inaccurate statement affected moms hear. The truth is that telling someone to snap out of PPD implies weakness and only silences moms who would otherwise need help. Silence makes it harder for moms to get help & adds to the stigma thereof

7. Myth: You can recover from PPD if only you got more sleep

Fact: Granted, new moms will experience sleep deprivation and fatigue in the first few months after childbirth. This exhaustion does contribute to PPD, but getting adequate rest ALONE will not treat PPD.

8. Myth: PPD means a mom does not love her baby

Fact: A common myth that couldn’t be further from the truth. PPD is not a measure of how much/how little a mom loves her child. Depression affects a mom’s ability to bond with her baby, but this is not because she does not love her baby

Read More: When postpartum bonding is not automatic

9. Myth: Moms with PPD cannot make a full recovery

Fact: There are treatment options available for PPD, and that makes recovery possible. The earlier a mom gets help the PPD, the faster she is able to recover. We have had moms in our support groups make a full recovery, and continue to provide psychosocial support both online and offline for affected moms.

Disregarding these myths and providing factual information about maternal mental health is part of our advocacy work. If you suspect you may be suffering from Postpartum Depression, please get in touch with us using this Contact Form and we will link you with professional help. And for the mom with please know:

– You are not alone

– You matter

– You can get help

We understand and we would love to help you.

This topic was the sixth in our series of bi-monthly tweetchats. If you missed it, or would like to see other topics we have covered, click this link.

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