Having a child can be the happiest moment of a person’s life. A sweet little baby usually gives new parents tremendous joy. That joy can be accompanied with anxiety about the baby and the responsibility the new parents are faced with. The anxiety, in most cases, fades and joy is what remains. For some new mothers, however, the joy is replaced with a condition known as postpartum depression. “Postpartum depression is a serious disorder that until recently was not discussed in public…Women did not recognize their symptoms as those of depression, nor did they discuss their thoughts and fears regarding their symptoms” (Wolf, 2010). As such, postpartum depression is now recognized as a disorder harmful to both mother and infant, but, with early detection, is highly treatable with the use of psychotherapy, antidepressants, breastfeeding, and other natural remedies, including exercise.
Postpartum depression is indeed a major psychological disorder that can affect the relationship between mother and baby. At this time, the cause of postpartum depression is unidentified, although several factors experienced during pregnancy can contribute to this disorder. Fluctuating hormone levels have been traditionally blamed for the onset of postpartum depression. Jennifer Marie Camp (2013), a registered nurse with a personal history of postpartum depression, states in the Intentional Journal of Childbirth Education that “current research demonstrates that PPD may be a compilation of numerous stressors encountered by the family, including biochemical, genetic, psychosocial factors and everyday life stress” (Camp, 2013, p. 1). A previous history of depression, depression during pregnancy, financial difficulties, a difficult delivery, and having a child with birth defects can all contribute the onset of postpartum depression (Camp, 2013). Now that we know the contributing factors of postpartum depression, we can look at the symptoms.
Postpartum depression can present with symptoms of sadness, unexplained crying, not wanting to participate in things that used to be enjoyable, tiredness, problems with sleep, decreased appetite, lack of concentration, and even suicide (Harvard Medical School, 2011). This condition will usually show up in the days and weeks following the birth of the baby, and “is described as a period of depression that lasts more than two weeks and begins after childbirth” (Camp, 2013, p. 1). Approximately ten to twenty percent of mothers experience postpartum depression during the first year after pregnancy, with fifty percent occurring in the first three months, and seventy-five percent occurring within six months (Quigley, 2006). These rates may even be higher due to the fact that many mothers may not seek treatment, due to feelings of embarrassment (Camp, 2013). Symptoms of postpartum depression are different from a more common condition known as the baby blues, which usually subsides after a few weeks. When...