There is an enormous feeling of relief and gratitude, once the delivery is over. After months of waiting and apprehension, when the child is born healthy, the sense of fulfillment is immense. But the first few weeks, even months after childbirth, with the baby can be confusing and emotionally draining. There maybe other reasons for distress as well. If the delivery does not take place as planned, if you have a Caesarean section or an assisted delivery, when all the while you were told that it would be normal, you are bound to feel distressed about it. All this can have great emotional consequences for the mother. One may feel cheated, angry and very sad.
These events can cause postnatal depression in new mothers. There is still no universal definition for postnatal depression. It is accepted that it is a type of clinical depression that mother's experience weeks or months after childbirth. There is a small percentage of fathers, who are also known to suffer from postnatal depression as they are not able to readily accept the new change and responsibility in their life. 10 to 15 percent of all new mothers undergo postnatal depression. But some researchers believe the rate could be higher, as a number of cases go undiagnosed. There are three main types of postnatal depression:
This type of depression is alternatively called 'three-day-blue' or 'baby blues'. More than half of the new mothers suffer from this, sooner or later, within the first week after childbirth. The main symptoms are feeling like crying without any reason and feeling down in the dumps. The only treatment this kind of depression is a lot of love, support and sympathy from the immediate family of the new mother.
If depression commences weeks or months after delivery, doctors would diagnose it as postnatal depression. But, it is likely that the symptoms were present months before the diagnosis. Most new mothers will feel anxious, tired and seem to lack confidence, feel less energetic and guilty for not being able to enjoy the birth of the baby. A mother with postnatal depression may experience a number of the following symptoms together: