We see our mother and wife as Wonder Woman. They can do everything. They take care of us when we’re sick. They fill our tummies with hearty meals. And some of them manage to have a successful careers. But there comes a time our Wonder Woman needs saving.
This may happen during and after pregnancy. Only women who patiently bore their child in the womb for months can say how stressful getting pregnant and giving birth can be. Working, budgeting expenses, taking care of their family and others can take a toll in the mind of the new mother. Any imbalance and difficulty coping with the stresses of life can make a mother develop a burden – a battlefield in her.
I would like to share some statistics. About 10% of pregnant moms around the world and 13% of moms who just delivered a child have a greater stress/ burden coping with the situation. Numbers are higher in developing nations – 15.6% among the pregnant and 19.8% after giving birth. 1 of 10 women develops the great burden while pregnant in high income countries, while 1 out of 5 women have it in developing countries. (World Health Organization, 2015)
Possible causes and detection
The reason for the depression is unknown. But hormone levels change during pregnancy and right after childbirth. Those hormone changes may produce chemical changes in the brain that play a part in causing depression.
Any pregnant mother and moms who newly gave birth until 1 year can develop mental challenges, but certain factors increase the risk. Some of them include poverty, migration, extreme stress, exposure to violence (domestic, sexual and gender-based), emergency and conflict situations, natural disasters, and low social support.
If you see your love ones or if you are a new mother. They may have a low mood, loss of interest and enjoyment, and lack of energy leading to lowered activity most of the time for at least 2 weeks leads to a diagnose of pregnancy-related burden. They may experience anxiety and bodily symptoms. Some moms have certain difficulties carrying out their usual work, home or social activities due to the overwhelming burden.
To all new moms, feeling depressed after giving birth doesn’t mean that you’re a bad person, or that you did something wrong or that you brought this on yourself. You have to acknowledge that you may be suffering from Perinatal and Postpartum Depression. You are not alone. And to those who know a new mom, be mindful.
My dear friends, seek professional help. One treatment is consulting with healthy, empathic, no-judgment conversations with a trusted professional such as a community health worker or a psychologist. Focusing on the well-being of the mother and child leads to more participation compared to focusing on the burden alone. Antidepressant medicine is avoided because of the adverse effect on the child they’re carrying or their breast milk.
I encourage those involved with maternal care to call on the mother to actively participate in finding and practicing healthful activities. Involve the whole family in helping the mother get through her burdens. A simple cleaning of the house, cooking meals and giving her the time out (me time) they need would greatly help.
The family can get through this together. Be their superheroes for now. And eventually, we will get our Wonder Woman back.
Blessing and healing,
P.S. Here are some articles healthy tips to help alleviate Perinatal and Postpartum:
P.S. Join our “You Can Heal Naturally” Seminar on August 18. Our main topic is Mental Health Awareness. We have a psychologist, a life coach, a mental health advocate and a priest to be guest speakers. Register now at http://didoy.com/mentalhealthawareness.