If Im Depressed Will It Affect My Children
Depression is treatable. But if it is not treated, it will affect your children.
Moms who are depressed may have trouble caring for their children. They may be loving one minute and withdrawn the next. They may respond to their child in a negative way or not respond at all. Your feelings and your behaviour will affect your ability to care for your children.
Depression can also affect attachment, which is important for your childs development. Attachment is a deep emotional bond that a baby forms with the person who provides most of his care. A secure attachment develops quite naturally. A mother responds to her crying infant, offering whatever she feels her baby needsfeeding, a diaper change, cuddling. Secure attachment helps protect against stress and is an important part of a babys long-term emotional health. It makes a baby feel safe and secure, and helps him learn to trust others.
If youre depressed, you may have trouble being loving and caring with your baby all the time. This can lead to an insecure attachment, which can cause problems later in childhood.
How a mothers depression affects her child depends on the childs age.
Babies who dont develop a secure attachment may:
- have trouble interacting with their mother ,
- have problems sleeping,
- may be delayed in their development,
- have more colic,
Postpartum Depression Signs And Symptoms
Symptoms of postpartum depression can be hard to detect. Many women have these symptoms following childbirth:
- Trouble sleeping
- Feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, and helplessness
- Thoughts of death or suicide
- Thoughts of hurting someone else
- Trouble concentrating or making decisions
Symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder that are new rarely occur in the postpartum period . The obsessions are usually related to concerns about the baby’s health or irrational fears of harming the baby. Panic disorder may also happen. You can have these conditions and depression at the same time.
Untreated postpartum depression can be dangerous for new moms and their children. A new mom should seek professional help when:
- Symptoms persist beyond 2 weeks
- They canât function normally
- They can’t cope with everyday situations
- They have thoughts of harming themselves or their baby
- They’re feeling extremely anxious, scared, and panicked most of the day
Tip : Lean On Others For Help And Support
Human beings are social. Positive social contact relieves stress faster and more efficiently than any other means of stress reduction. Historically and from an evolutionary perspective, new mothers received help from those around them when caring for themselves and their infants after childbirth. In todays world, new mothers often find themselves alone, exhausted and lonely for supportive adult contact. Here are some ideas for connecting to others:
Make your relationships a priority. When youre feeling depressed and vulnerable, its more important than ever to stay connected to family and friendseven if youd rather be alone. Isolating yourself will only make your situation feel even bleaker, so make your adult relationships a priority. Let your loved ones know what you need and how youd like to be supported.
Dont keep your feelings to yourself. In addition to the practical help your friends and family can provide, they can also serve as a much-needed emotional outlet. Share what youre experiencingthe good, the bad, and the uglywith at least one other person, preferably face to face. It doesnt matter who you talk to, so long as that person is willing to listen without judgment and offer reassurance and support.
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Coping With Postpartum Depression Tip : Create A Secure Attachment With Your Baby
The emotional bonding process between mother and child, known as attachment, is the most important task of infancy. The success of this wordless relationship enables a child to feel secure enough to develop fully, and affects how he or she will interact, communicate, and form relationships throughout life.
A secure attachment is formed when you as the mother respond warmly and consistently to your babys physical and emotional needs. When your baby cries, you quickly soothe him or her. If your baby laughs or smiles, you respond in kind. In essence, you and your child are in sync. You recognize and respond to each others emotional signals.
Postpartum depression can interrupt this bonding. Depressed mothers can be loving and attentive at times, but at other times may react negatively or not respond at all. Mothers with postpartum depression tend to interact less with their babies, and are less likely to breastfeed, play with, and read to their children. They may also be inconsistent in the way they care for their newborns.
However, learning to bond with your baby not only benefits your child, it also benefits you by releasing endorphins that make you feel happier and more confident as a mom.
Myths About Postnatal Depression
Postnatal depression is often misunderstood and there are many myths surrounding it.
- postnatal depression is less severe than other types of depression in fact, it’s as serious as other types of depression
- postnatal depression is entirely caused by hormonal changes it’s actually caused by many different factors
- postnatal depression will soon pass unlike the “baby blues”, postnatal depression can persist for months if left untreated and in a minority of cases it can become a long-term problem.
- postnatal depression only affects women research has actually found that up to 1 in 10 new fathers become depressed after having a baby
These factors are equally true of antenatal depression.
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Getting Help For Antenatal Depression
You might feel confused and isolated if you go through antenatal depression but the key thing is not to keep it to yourself. Instead, speak to your midwife as soon as possible.
Many women dont open up about their depression in pregnancy because theyre embarrassed or worried about what people will think .
But spotting it early is key to getting better and to avoiding any potential impact of the depression on your developing baby .
Some self-help methods that can help are:
What Are The Baby Blues
The baby blues are the least severe form of postpartum depression. Approximately 50% to 75% of all new mothers will experience some negative feelings after giving birth. Normally these feelings occur suddenly four to five days after the birth of the baby.The most common symptoms include:
- Crying for no apparent reason
- Mood swings with irritability and anxiousness
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Change in eating and sleeping
While these symptoms are quite unpleasant, they typically resolve on their own within a week to two weeks. Getting as much rest as possible and having a good support system can help these symptoms seem less severe.If you or someone you know is struggling with any form of postpartum depression, please contact a physician, a friend, or the American Pregnancy Association so that the appropriate help can be located.
Compiled using information from the following sources:Williams Obstetrics Twenty-Second Ed. Cunningham, F. Gary, et al, Ch. 55.MedlinePlus . Bethesda : National Library of Medicine . Postpartum Depression . Available from: Depression during and after Pregnancy Fact Sheet,
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What If She Gets Mad
One of the most common symptoms of PPD is rage, so this is a legitimate question.
Perhaps the most difficult thing about supporting and loving someone who has postpartum depression is that even when you do the right thing, it doesnt feel good in the moment.
Chances are, your wife will get either mad or sad or both when you suggest that she might have postpartum depression. Be prepared for an episode. The hope is that once she gets out of that, she actually thinks about what you said and does some investigating for herself.
She Threatens To Run Away Or Wants To Escape The Family
When youve been dealing with postpartum depression for months on end without any improvement, it starts to feel like a hellish emotional prison. Like there is legitimately no way out.
This is when your wife will start to get desperate for a way out. She may start thinking about leaving you and her baby behind, desperate to escape the prison she feels trapped in.
This is when marriages start failing.
- I would give anything to start over by myself.
- One day Im just going to pack my bags and leave.
- I dont love you anymore, I just want to be by myself.
WARNING! If You See Any of the Signs Past Here, Seek Help Immediately!
Current estimates state that around 600,000 moms will develop PPD every year in the US.
A very small percentage of those women will develop scary, life-threatening symptoms like the ones below.
Remember what I said at the beginning?
The longer postpartum depression goes untreated, the worse it gets.
The longer postpartum depression goes untreated, the worse it gets. There is no rock bottom it just keeps getting harder until you get help. Past here, were going to start looking at some very scary symptoms of postpartum depression.
I’ll be honest, my wife did not have these symptoms so I don’t have the same experience with them. However, if youve seen either of the signs that follow, get help immediately.
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Coronavirus Update: How To Contact A Gp
It’s still important to get help from a GP if you need it. To contact your GP surgery:
- visit their website
- a range of help and support is available, including therapy
- depression is an illness like any other
- it’s not your fault you’re depressed it can happen to anyone
- being depressed does not mean you’re a bad parent
- it does not mean you’re going mad
- your baby will not be taken away from you babies are only taken into care in very exceptional circumstances
How Does Depression Affect Pregnancy
Experiencing depression during pregnancy can impact a mothers health in several ways. Depression during pregnancy can affect you by:
- Interfering with your ability to care for yourself. Its important to take care of your own health during your pregnancy. Depression can cause you to push those personal needs aside. If youre depressed during pregnancy, you might be less able to follow medical recommendations, as well as sleep and eat properly.
- Placing you at a higher risk of using harmful substances. These substances can include tobacco, alcohol and illegal drugs. Depression may cause you to turn to these substances, all of which can have a negative impact on your pregnancy.
- Interfering with your ability to bond with your growing baby. While your baby is in the womb , the baby can actually hear you talk and can sense emotion by the pitch, rhythm and stress in your voice. If you are experiencing depression during your pregnancy, you might find it difficult to develop this bond with your baby. You might feel emotionally isolated.
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Can You Take Antidepressant Medicine And Breastfeed Your Baby
Treating your depression is very important for your baby. Breastfeeding is good for your baby’s health. And it’s good for your baby’s bond with you. At best, you will be able to treat your depression and breastfeed your baby. But if you decide to choose between taking medicine and breastfeeding, take the medicine.
Are Some Women More At Risk Of Postpartum Depression
Yes. You may be more at risk of postpartum depression if you:
- Have a personal history of depression or bipolar disorder
- Have a family history of depression or bipolar disorder
- Do not have support from family and friends
- Were depressed during pregnancy
- Lose your appetite
- Have trouble sleeping
The baby blues usually go away in 3 to 5 days after they start. The symptoms of postpartum depression last longer and are more severe. Postpartum depression usually begins within the first month after childbirth, but it can begin during pregnancy or for up to a year after birth.
Postpartum depression needs to be treated by a doctor or nurse.
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What Causes Postpartum Depression
Hormonal changes may trigger symptoms of postpartum depression. When you are pregnant, levels of the female hormones and are the highest theyll ever be. In the first 24 hours after childbirth, hormone levels quickly drop back to normal, pre-pregnancy levels. Researchers think this sudden change in hormone levels may lead to depression. This is similar to hormone changes before a womans period but involves much more extreme swings in hormone levels.
Levels of thyroid hormones may also drop after giving birth. The thyroid is a small gland in the neck that helps regulate how your body uses and stores energy from food. Low levels of thyroid hormones can cause symptoms of depression. A simple blood test can tell whether this condition is causing your symptoms. If so, your doctor can prescribe thyroid medicine.
Other feelings may contribute to postpartum depression. Many new mothers say they feel:
- Tired after labor and delivery
- Tired from a lack of sleep or broken sleep
- Overwhelmed with a new baby
- Doubts about their ability to be a good mother
- Stress from changes in work and home routines
- An unrealistic need to be a perfect mom
- Grief about loss of who they were before having the baby
- Less attractive
- A lack of free time
These feelings are common among new mothers. But postpartum depression is a serious health condition and can be treated. Postpartum depression is not a regular or expected part of being a new mother.
Causes Of Postnatal Depression
The cause of postnatal depression is not completely clear.
There are a number of things that may make you more likely to have postnatal depression. These include:
- a history of mental health problems, particularly depression, earlier in life
- a history of mental health problems during pregnancy
- having no close family or friends to support you
- a difficult relationship with your partner
- recent stressful life events, such as a bereavement
- physical or psychological trauma, such as domestic violence
- having the “baby blues”
Even if you do not have any of these, having a baby is a life-changing event that can sometimes trigger depression.
It often takes time to adapt to becoming a new parent. Looking after a small baby can be stressful and exhausting.
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Is There Anything Else I Should Do
If you are feeling any of the symptoms listed above, it is very important to tell someone. The early days of taking care of a new baby can be hard. Youre probably not sleeping much as you try to meet your babys needs around the clock. Find a friend, family member or someone else you trust who can look after your baby for short periods while you get a break. If people offer help, accept it.
There are many support programs for new mothers. Talk to your doctor, nurse, midwife, or contact your local public health office for a listing of services in your area.
What Is Postpartum Anxiety
Postpartum anxiety affects about 10% of postpartum women. These women may experience anxiety by itself or may also experience depression with anxiety. Postpartum anxiety can also include postpartum panic disorder which includes having panic attacks along with feelings of anxiety.Symptoms include:
- Impending fear that something bad is going to happen
- Trouble sitting still and focusing
- Physical symptoms such as dizziness, hot flashes, and nausea
Postpartum anxiety is treatable and often will go away once the right treatment is found.
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Depression In Pregnant Women And Mothers: How It Affects You And Your Child
Depression is an illness that affects the way people think, act and feel. About 6% of women will experience depression at some point in their lives. This number increases to about 10% for women who are pregnant.
Women are more at risk of depression while they are pregnant, and during the weeks and months after having a baby. During pregnancy, hormone changes can affect brain chemicals and cause depression and anxiety. Sometimes, pregnant women dont realize they are depressed. They may think they have symptoms of pregnancy or the baby blues, which many women experience right after birth.
Its also important to know that as many as 10% of fathers experience postpartum depression after the birth of a child.
The good news is that depression can be treated. Read the signs listed below, and talk to your doctor if you have any of them. Let your partner and family members know the signs so that they can also be aware.
If you dont get help, depression can cause problems for you and your baby.
What Are The Symptoms Of Depression During Pregnancy
Its often difficult to diagnose prenatal depression because some of its warning signs mirror so many “normal” pregnancy symptoms, including:
- Inability to concentrate
- Mood swings or general emotional instability
If youre not sure whether your feelings are within a healthy range, its best to discuss your symptoms with your doctor to be safe.
If you have five of the following more serious symptoms of depression for most of the day every day during the same two-week period, you should seek help:
- Sad, hopeless, restless, indifferent or depressed mood
- Crying a lot
- Withdrawal from friends and family
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities you used to enjoy
- Weight loss
- Weight gain that exceeds your target pregnancy weight gain
- Wanting to eat all the time, or no appetite at all
- Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Having trouble thinking, concentrating or making decisions
- Thoughts of harming yourself, death or suicide
- Having headaches, stomach problems or other pains that dont go away
- Missing prenatal visits or not following medical instructions
- Using harmful substances like tobacco, alcohol or illegal drugs
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Signs And Symptoms Of Postpartum Psychosis
Postpartum psychosis is a rare, but extremely serious disorder that can develop after childbirth, characterized by loss of contact with reality. Because of the high risk for suicide or infanticide, hospitalization is usually required to keep the mother and the baby safe.
Postpartum psychosis develops suddenly, usually within the first two weeks after delivery, and sometimes within 48 hours. Symptoms include:
- Extreme agitation and anxiety
- Inability or refusal to eat or sleep
- Thoughts of harming or killing your baby
Postpartum psychosis should be considered a medical emergency requiring immediate medical attention.