Postpartum Care: Know-How Important Is A Mother’s Mental Health
Know-How Important Is A Mother’s Mental Health :Being a mother is a life-changing experience, but it can simultaneously be tiring and overwhelming. It’s common to have sudden mood changes, frequent crying spells, or loss of appetite and sleep; this calls for immediate attention. When these symptoms are present over some time, it results in a clinical condition known as postpartum depression (also known as Peripartum Depression). Ms Avani Vasani, Licensed Clinical Psychologist at DocVita, shares that, unfortunately, more often than not, this is not the case.
Especially In The Initial Months
It is observed that newborns require more nurturing and demand more attention, which could lead to new mothers often neglecting and ignoring their feelings and emotions. Additionally, as per societal norms and conventions, mothers are expected to love their children unconditionally, often at the cost of their mental well-being. These unrealistic expectations and idealization of motherhood can create a sense of competition between the mother’s needs and the child’s. As a result, many mothers may grapple with feelings of self-doubt and begin to question their ability to provide this level of love and attention. These doubts, coupled with the overwhelming new responsibilities of motherhood, can give rise to a range of psychological symptoms.
- Through different clinical trials and research over many years, it has been seen that there are different stages of psychological changes that the mother goes through. If the symptoms are not addressed or handled at each stage, they can progress to the next stage with more severity. The initial phase, also known as Baby Blues, affects between 50% and 75% of mothers after delivery.
- Mothers who experience baby blues will have prolonged bouts of crying accompanied by sadness and anxiety for no apparent reason. Here, if the symptoms are not addressed, it can often lead to Postpartum Depression, which is a much more severe condition than Baby Blues. While symptoms can last for several months, treatment with correct psychotherapy or antidepressants, which are safe for breastfeeding mothers, is very efficient.
Unfortunately, in South Asian countries where attention is predominantly focused on the baby, the psychological distress of new mothers is bluntly ignored. Sometimes, these symptoms are seen as malignant or labelled attention-seeking behaviour by the mothers. But this can be dangerous because ignoring the symptoms of postpartum depression, suppressing your own emotions, and focusing only on your newborn often leads to Postpartum Psychosis, which is a highly severe and rare form of Postpartum Depression. This condition also requires immediate medical attention and ECT.