Is Postpartum Depression Stealing Your Joy Of Motherhood?
Postpartum depression can steal your joy. You've just delivered your bouncing baby into the world. He comes out screaming his lungs out, the nurses announce it’s a boy and you are ecstatic, your face streaming with tears of happiness. You did it! Nine months of discomfort, and bloating, and nausea and back ache! But it was all worth it because your bundle of joy is now in your arms.
Everything is fine and dandy until you are discharged from hospital after 3 days and you come home and then all of a sudden you begin to feel sad. You can’t explain why. You feel upset, afraid, or unloving toward your baby, and you also feel guilty for having these feelings. Chances are you have developed postpartum depression.
A lot of women experience some form of mood disturbance after giving birth. Most of time, the symptoms are mild and may subside after a few days without any treatment. But on few occasions, some women develop a more severe form of mood disorder called postpartum or postnatal depression.
What Causes Postpartum Depression?
Experts believe that the risk of depression after childbirth is greater when the body lacks omega-3 fatty acids. DHA and EPA supplements possess a significant antidepressant effect and new mothers with low levels of DHA in their breast milk are more prone to become depressed. Other factors that may cause postpartum depression are as follows:
Hormonal changes can contribute to a blue mood after birth. Hormones control emotions and mood. You’ve often heard the phrase “oh, she must be going through menopause” when some adult woman exhibits changes of mood. Women go through mood fluctuations which are primarily due to hormone changes.
Likewise, the female hormones estrogen and progesterone peak during pregnancy, but they quickly return to normal levels within 24 hours of giving birth. Experts believe that symptoms of this type of depression are triggered by the abrupt withdrawal of estrogen and progesterone.
Low levels of thyroid hormones can also lead to fatigue. The thyroid is a gland that controls how the body stores and uses energy from food. The level of this hormone drops dramatically after giving birth, and low levels can also cause depression.
Low self esteem, feelings of inadequacy and increased vulnerability are all factors that can lead to postpartum depression. The new mother might also come from a family with a history of anxiety and depression.
Fatigue and loss of sleep is another major cause of postpartum depression. Taking care of a new born requires energy, which can be lacking due to the fact that the baby might not be sleeping well, which means that the mother is also not getting enough sleep.
This can put a strain on the mother and cause her to harbor resentful feelings against her child for depriving her of rest. These feelings of resentment can also create guilt which can lead you to doubt your ability of being a good mother. All this may lead to helplessness and depression.
Stress can set in after giving birth, when a new mother feels overwhelmed with the added chore of taking care of a new baby. Other factors that can bring stress are when a new mother feels less attractive because of changes of her figure which perpetuates feelings of being unloved.
Loss of control over time and confinement may trigger symptoms of postpartum depression. Inability to come and go as you a new mother pleases, having to stay indoors constantly, and sometimes with a baby who seems never to stop crying may all create feelings of frustration trigger signs of depression.
Postpartum Depression Symptoms
The following are all symptoms of this disease. If they last for more than two weeks, it is more than likely that you are depicting signs of depression.
*Lack of interest in the baby and fear of hurting him or her;
*Restlessness or moodiness;
*Overwhelming feelings and hopelessness;
*Sadness for no apparent reason and outburst of crying;
*Lack of energy and motivation to do anything;
*Tendency to binge eat or starv yourself;
*Sleeping too little or too much;
*Inability to focus or be decisive;
*Having a hard time remembering things;
*Feelings of guilt and worthlessness;
*Lose of interest or pleasure in activities you used to enjoy;
*Lose of interest in socializing with friends and family;
Natural Remedies For Postpartum Depression
Most of us eat the same foods consistently every day, because we pretty much form that habit of the acquired taste and it becomes very difficult for us to incorporate new foods into our diets.
We behave like we are at perpetual birthday parties and consume too much sugar, fat and unhealthy foods. The result? We develop not just physical ailments but psychological problems as well such as anxiety and depression. The good news is that in many cases, it is possible to eliminate these problems simply by altering our diets.
You can begin by eating plenty of high grade proteins such as meat, dairy products, eggs and fresh fish for tryptophan and choline to promote good nervous system function.
If you are experiencing symptoms of postpartum depression, you might want to start boosting your intake of omega-3 fatty acids. Studies have shown that the risk of getting depressed after childbirth is 50% greater in countries where consumption of seafood is very low.
In the same vein, supplementing with EPA and DHA in omega-3 decreased signs of depression by as much as 50%. If you’ve just had a baby, it will be a shame not to enjoy this miraculous and joyous event of bringing a baby to the world. You can take 2,000 mg. of fish oil supplement daily to bring back your happiness.
Saffron is another herbal spice you can use to alleviate depression. Doctors at a psychiatric research center studied patients with depression. Half of the patients were given the antidepressant drug Prozac, and the other half were given saffron capsules. After six weeks, both groups had the same level of relief from depression. If you want to fight depression without side effects, then why not take saffron instead? Recommended is 30 mg. a day.
Another natural remedy to try is SAMe. This is a natural compound with the scientific name of S-adenosyl-methionine. Studies were conducted at Yale Prevention Research Center where it was concluded that this compound had very significant effects on relieving depression.
The research also found that SAMe works faster than antidepressants. The recommended dosage of this natural compound is 800 mg. twice a day until you start to feel the antidepressant effects. As with all supplements, consult with your doctor before starting a regimen.
Click on this underlined link for more nutrients to combat this “thief of joy” disease.
Return from Postpartum Depression to Depression Page
Return to Natural Remedies Home Page