Pre and post natal depression are a warning phenomena and people should be aware of their consequences for the parents and their babies because they affect the whole of society.
Postpartum depression (PPD), for instance, is very common among parents. It can affect mothers and fathers after childbirth. Interestingly enough, it’s not only the constant fatigue that marks parenthood, the new social roles parents experience, and the sudden changes that occur in their intimate and family life can also cause PPD. Pain can also be one of the factors that trigger PPD.
Actually, birth pain is linked to PPD, recent studies show, from pain during labor to social isolation from family and friends. Well, the body has gone through a lot of changes during pregnancy and on top of everything, it’s normal for new moms to be scared of the moment of their labor, especially if it’s the first child.
Childbirth is stressful, exhausting and uncomfortable, and painful as well, and all that can lead to depression. Just like fatigue and burnout at work. But cheer up, this time this is much more important than any career.
So, just embrace the thoughts of childbirth and be aware of all the complications that might happen. Experts say that tackling pain management in the birth plan will help moms-to-be reduce the risks of depression. Having an epidural is a recommended option, and I personally, don’t regret choosing it.
13 C-Sections Can Cause Insecurities
Nowadays c-sections are a normal way of delivery, and mothers should not feel less when talking about it. Not only that, but performing a c-section can save lives.
However, having a c-section can lead to a longer recovery and some severe pain after birth. A survey conducted in the U.S. shows that women who had a c-section felt more afraid, less confident and even incapable of taking care of their babies. Actually, data shows that one out of eight women who give birth suffers from postnatal depression.
And here’s something surprising, researchers reveal, 6% of these women meet the criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder.
That’s why more social awareness, medical support, and family therapy are needed to tackle the problem with depression among mothers. In addition, the negative connotation around c-sections should be erased from people’s mentality.
12 Body Changes Cause Emotional Pain After Birth
Physical and hormonal changes after labor can also affect the levels of depression.
Not only that, but the emotional pain of getting used to our new bodies is also a stressful obstacle: bigger boobs, bigger belly, bigger hips, bigger… and the list goes on and on. Some people think that after delivery things get back to normal. The truth is that it takes time and some people actually never do it. But having a loving family is much more important than looking artificial like on a front page in a magazine.
Healthy lifestyle and a good diet, just like during pregnancy, can be very helpful to prevent depressive moods. In addition, at least for me, yoga helped me return to my normal size after birth.
11 Breastfeeding Pain Can Cause Depression
Surprising or not, breastfeeding can also cause depression. A study conducted by Dr Newman tries to understand the relationship between breastfeeding and postpartum depression, and of course, attachment.
That’s a complicated relationship, but breastfeeding can be difficult. The pressure that you must breastfeed is too much and sometimes women that don’t have enough can feel less in their role of a mother. If the baby can’t eat enough and you decide on pumping, the lack of free time and having a best friend in the face of your pump (trying not to develop mastitis or something else) can be frustrating.
Last but not least, breastfeeding can be painful: it causes contractions and of course, sore nipples (plus enlarged breasts). And as stated above, pain is responsible for depression.
10 Pain After Childbirth Can Make Life Harder
Not only pain during childbirth can cause depression but postpartum pain as well. A recent study, conducted by a team of Singaporean experts, shows that pain after childbirth is also linked to postnatal depression.
Using different scales, such as the Perceived Stress Scale, the Pain Catastrophizing Scale, the Spielberger State Trait Anxiety Inventory and the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale, the researchers found out that mothers who experience postpartum pain more than four weeks after delivery have higher scores regarding depression.
Experts say that women shouldn’t accept pain as something normal and they should seek help: not only for their physical health but their mental stability. To be honest, I totally relate to that: an infection after birth made me kind of absent the first week after I met my wonderful daughter.
Long-lasting pain should be addressed because you have wonderful things ahead of you: being a mother and raising a great little individual.
9 Loss Of Intimate Life Can Be Painful And Depressing
Painful intimate experiences can cause depression. And I’m not talking about a devastating moment like a scene of abuse or harassment. A simple problem in your intimate life can cause a lot of troubles in a relationship, especially after having a baby.
Pain during the deed, stitches, tearing, bleeding, dryness, the fact you don’t know when you’ll get your period again, fears related to contraception, and insecurity about your body are some of the triggers of depression.
On top of that, the constant fatigue and the new role of a mother, not a lover or a wife, can be challenging. Unfortunately, I’ve started to prefer a quiet night instead of an intimate moment with my partner.
Talking about your desires and some romantic moments and one-day trips with your partner can prevent depression.
8 Physical & Social Challenges Can Cause Emotional Pain
Being a parent is not only psychically challenging but socially challenging as well. Being stuck at home can be emotionally painful not only for extroverts, but introverts too. Honestly, it was at least for me in the beginning, despite all the wonderful baby moments and me working from home.
Having some hobbies is also something that parents should have. No matter how tired or busy around the baby or work you are, try to have some free time for yourself: go to the gym, paint, call a friend, arrange the nursery, buy baby clothes, cook or knit. Actually, it doesn’t matter what you do, just do.
Being involved in different activities apart from breastfeeding and pumping can be very therapeutic. Do not be ashamed to express your emotions, to ask for help or to seek some emotional support.
7 Physical Pain Can Stop Mom From Participating In Physical Activity
Having physical pain can be linked to postpartum depression simply due to the fact that might prevent you from doing sports. Being active is important for one’s physical and mental health and not being able to do it can cause depression.
That’s why researchers suggest exercising, practicing deep breathing techniques and enjoying some fresh air in order to be mentally strong. Professor Richard Maddock and his team have found a link between depression, intense exercise, and mental well-being.
Let me give another example from my life. My pregnancy was more than interesting, with a quick labor and an immediate recovery. Plus the fact I now have a wonderful daughter so soon after delivery who thankfully gained the weight that she was missing in my womb, doesn’t give me a reason to complain, but I still feel down.
There’s one postpartum pain I still suffer from: the pain in my lower back, which stops me from my favorite activity, hiking. So, to be honest, yes, it affects my mood.
6 Physical Pain Can Mean Problems In The Household
Having any physical pain can prevent you not only from enjoying life or your baby, but from taking care of your house. Lifting heavy stuff, especially after a c-section, can be dangerous, and not having enough energy can be actually very frustrating. All this anxiety and frustration can grow into depression and even suicidal thoughts and aggressive behavior.
Last but not least, it can lead to a lot of family arguments if mom feels she's not getting help, or if hubby feels mom could do more.
Therefore, always ask for help and do not be afraid if your house isn't perfect. Having extra laundry and dirty bottles makes things more difficult. But that’s the fun of it! Try to organize a new routine at your house and involve your partner and/or children. In the end, you are a mother, not a famous interior designer.
5 Family Frustrations Can Increase Depressive State
Talking about our houses, we should mention our loved families. Unfortunately, family members can also contribute to our depression. High expectations, unwanted advice or too many visits can result in irritation, which easily can become depression.
Having family support and financial security is important but too many people around you when you don’t have any personal time anyway can be bad for your emotional state.
There’s a study conducted in 2016 that shows that depression and other emotional responses run mainly from mother to daughter. Actually, the corticolimbic system is crucial in depression.
Another study presented in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry shows that depression affects the whole body and can be linked to diseases, such as cancer and heart problems.
That’s why the well-being of the mother is the most important aspect of the well-being of the family.
Not only pain but social changes contribute to depression. Taking some time off or trying to balance motherhood and career can be stressful. Also, giving up on nights out can be frustrating, especially for young parents.
Often people around the new mama don’t understand what’s happening. They still have their life thinking that their career is more important than having a baby and overwhelm you with details about their everyday lives, without asking you how you are. Also, it’s not an exception that people have the image that mothers talk only about their babies, and ask stupid questions about schedules and if at one month the baby eats cooked food, for example.
The lack of understanding, especially from non-parents, can make the mother feel isolated. A study, led by Dr Joshua Grubbs, says that people born between 1988 and 1994 are the most narcissistic ones. Maybe that’s why most of the people don’t care about the new mom and her child. That’s something that personally made me feel undervalued and alienated.
4 Pain Causes Different Emotions
While it’s true that pregnancy is marked by hormonal changes and many mood swings as a consequence, becoming a mother and a new parent is something equally emotional.
Pain can cause a wide variety of emotions: anger, frustration, and fear are only some of them. Of course, mostly negative emotions as a result of fatigue and inability to feel psychically healthy.
In addition, being a parent is marked by different deep feelings, such as guilt and fear. The insecurity about how good you are at being a parent can trigger a lot of depressive thoughts that can result in suicide. The situation is even worse for single parents.
What is even worse, data shows that depression can lead not only to self-harm but to aggression towards one’s own child, which sometimes can be fatal.
3 Feeling Guilty Means Mom Has More Emotional Pain
Another strong feeling is guilt. Wondering if you’re doing okay, if you are a good parent and if your child is healthy and stimulated is a big fear for many mothers. Having more than one child is also a source of guilt because you wonder if you give care equally. Actually, sometimes it’s too difficult and the desire to have some alone time can be overwhelming.
You can even trigger more guilt. To make things easier some parents leave their kids to watch TV.
While there’s nothing wrong with that, the American Academy of Pediatrics says that leaving your child in front of the TV for too long can lead to overstimulation. Interestingly enough, scientific findings show that overstimulation can lead to depression. The leading researcher, the social psychologist Elaine Aron, claims that overstimulation leads to characteristics she calls “high sensitivity.”
2 Partner Misunderstands Mom
Depression can affect not only the individual but their family. And when talking about mothers and depression, the closest person who suffers is the father.
Studies show that 16% of adults experience depression and one in five women develop clinical depression. The figures are higher in samples of pregnant women and mothers.
If the family doesn’t know that the mother is struggling with her life, they might find the suffering mother for lazy as she can’t physically get up, or even worse, for a bad mother who can’t take care of her baby. If there’s no supporting environment, depression can be the cause of many breakups and divorces.
Close families and harmony in communication are crucial for raising a baby – a good individual who’s respectful and loving.
1 The Doctor Isn't Catching The PPD Symptoms
Tackling depression is very important: for the mother, her family, the little ones, and society. Counseling and medical help should be available and most of all, the stigma in our society that surrounds the topic should be erased. That's why telling your doctor everything, including how you feel is so important.
Actually, doctors play a crucial role in the mental health of the mother. If she’s not treated in a respectful way or given enough information during pregnancy, this might lead to low self-esteem. Also, traumatic experiences during birth can cause depression. If the mother is not seen as an individual but as someone that can be cut and not given medications to relief pain but just as someone who is there to deliver a new human, that can actually stops her from having another child.
Many women report that disrespectful treatment has caused a lot of sadness during their hospital stay.
However, mothers should be happy because they’ve done the best thing in life: created a new life. They should be confident and see a perspective. That’s why pain-free motherhood should be the main aim in medicine.