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May 312011

The birth of a baby is a joyful event no doubt, but it brings with it loads of extra work and constant vigil of the little one. The new born is totally dependent on the mother and as he is unable to communicate, she has to pre-empt his every need and act accordingly. She has to know when he is hungry or wet or unwell or just wants attention. Household chores too loom large. The mother is often short on sleep. In such a scenario it is not surprising that some new mothers suffer from postpartum depression. All these situations cause postpartum depression of a newborn baby’s mother.

The mother has to undergo lot of pain and stress during the birth of the child. Before she can recuperate, the onus of baby care falls on her. If she has no help, she gets no time for herself but is in constant motion. In addition she has to cook, wash and clean. The burden piles up and the effect is extremely negative. If no remedial measures are taken to ease the stress, some women are known to harm the baby.

In the beginning the depression is light and is referred to as baby blues. The symptoms are experienced by almost eighty percent of the women who have just had a baby and may last up to six weeks. This is the time needed by the woman to find her feet and get used to a new routine where her baby reigns supreme.

The intensity of depression is not too much. If her husband or some relative takes over the care of the child for some time, she is able to rest and sleep. When she is refreshed, she is once again ready to meet her obligations.

About fifteen percent of new mothers experience a severer and longer lasting form of depression. This is called postpartum depression and is regarded as a disorder. This may last for months – even up to an year. Those suffering from it are constantly in a state of depression and their mood does not lighten.

Even if someone is willing to help out by taking the duty of care of the baby on himself, the mother is unable to relax or sleep. Even if she listens to music or goes out she is unable to enjoy herself and get over her depression. She feels too burdened to do anything save think of how much work is pending.

Both types of depression may disappear without treatment. However, if the mother is very disturbed she will require treatment and a psychiatrist should be consulted. Those around her should understand her situation and be ready to help and sympathise with her. They should assist her in her daily chores and take up some of her duties so that she has time to rest and relax.