Postpartum depression affects between 14% and 20% of new mothers, and for women who experience it, it can come as a terrible shock. Mothers are led to believe that having a new-born baby will bring feelings of joy, satisfaction, and contentment, but for many people, that isn’t the case. The following is some important information about postpartum depression that every expectant mother should be aware of.
Postpartum Depression Is Just One Form Of PPMD
Many psychologists refer to postpartum mood disorders (PPMD) rather than depression since the phenomenon can actually take several different forms. Depression is common, but it can co-occur with other disorders, like anxiety and OCD. Some parents experience other symptoms, like panic attacks, without depression. Because the condition is variable, the umbrella term can be helpful. Regardless of the way the condition manifests, women should be aware that severe and prolonged mood changes are not just “the baby blues” but rather a condition that needs treatment with counseling and/or medication.
PPMD Has Some Known Risk Factors
Although it can strike almost anyone, it seems that certain conditions make PPMD more likely to occur. First of all, women who have already experienced depression have a higher risk of developing PPMD. Women with family members who have been diagnosed with mental illness are also at a higher risk of having postpartum depression or other mood disorders. Stressful and traumatic events can also be risk factors, and they can include medical complications with the pregnancy, experiencing the loss of a loved one during pregnancy or soon after childbirth, or domestic abuse. Finally, alcohol and drug use increase a woman’s risk of PPMD.
Women With PPMD Worry About Hurting Their Babies
One of the most commonly reported symptoms of PPMD is an exaggerated fear of harming the baby. Although most new mothers question their ability to be a good parent, especially if it’s their first time, women with PPMD are likely to become obsessed with the notion that they are unfit to be mothers. Fortunately, the vast majority of women with these symptoms recover and go on to be perfectly good parents, and only 1 in 1,000 actually develop postpartum psychosis. Learn more about getting parenting help from this article.