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What Leads To Postpartum Depression?

Postpartum depression affects many new moms and may be more prevalent than previously thought. It’s all too common for many women to be confused and sad after the birth of their baby.

When a woman first finds out she’s pregnant, she immediately gets excited and starts to think about names, setting up the baby’s room and sharing the joy with the family. This is particularly true if it is her first child as first time moms aren’t sure what to expect and don’t really know how their lives are about to change.

She then spends the next 9 months waiting with eager anticipation. Everything’s been picked out and set up and she and the father have finally agreed upon a name. She’s getting a lot of attention during this time with everyone wanting to touch her belly and asking her how she’s feeling. Everyone works hard to treat her delicately and she’s always being told to “take it easy”. Then the big day arrives.

After the birth, all of the relatives are hovering over the new addition while the new mom lays in bed feeling totally exhausted and overwhelmed. All of the attention once lavished on her has been transferred to the baby and she now feels like yesterday’s news. She has had little time to bond with her baby and is still feeling a little under the weather from the birth. This whole scenario, in addition to fluctuating hormones, lends itself to feeling blue after a baby is born.

Once a new mom is home with her baby, the added stress of a crying newborn constantly demanding attention can often push many new moms to the breaking point. Career minded women find that they now long for adult conversation and often don’t know what they should do with themselves. Once their husband returns to his job, the stress can become even more compounded.

All of this additional stress can make postpartum depression even worse. It’s always important for new moms to have a support system there to help out when she needs a break. With the birth of a new baby, other less important things need to take a back seat. The neat and tidy house can now be let go a little bit. Trying to achieve perfection at this stage of the game isn’t only going to exaggerate postpartum depression.

Another key component to alleviating those baby blues is to have realistic expectations. Many new moms have this fantasy of the perfect child, home, career and marriage and when it doesn’t live up to these expectations, it can send Mom into a tailspin.

As long as this “blue” mood is short lived there isn’t usually a problem. However, if she is still feeling down when the baby is six months old, she is more than likely suffering from postpartum depression and needs additional help in gaining perspective and returning to her old self. Although postpartum depression is considered a normal part of having a baby, it should never be discounted or ignored as this could lead to serious consequences. If a deeper problem is suspected, treatment should begin right away so that the new family can begin living and enjoy a happier life.

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