Social Work Programs

August 14, 2010

Postnatal Depression

Filed under: postnatal depression — Tags: — admin @ 3:46 pm

postnataldepression Postnatal depression is a term used to describe a certain type of depression which occurs after a woman gives birth. It is common for women who have just went through childbirth to go through a period of feeling depressed or sad, however it can be a serious medical condition which requires proper treatment. The depression which a woman experienced after giving birth can be minimal or more severe, depending on the situation. There are many different factors which play into just how bad the depression is, including the body’s chemistry. I recently had two clients this summer going through this and it can be very debilitating.

It is important for any woman feeling like this to know that it is common and that although many women do not talk about it, this is something which occurs frequently.


One in seven new mothers experience this type of postnatal depression. Even more common is what is referred to as “baby blues”, or feeling low after having a child. This in turn can result in a more serious depression that can cause self-destructive behavior in some women. The condition is also referred to as postpartum depression. This is a different situation than someone who has been coping with bipolar disorder for a number of years.

How long the depression lasts after birth depends on the woman, however it can last for a number of months. It is still unclear exactly how and when it starts/stops, however there are some possible explanations. Knowing the symptoms of PND is important if you have just given birth or are close to someone who has. A feeling of being miserable or sad for no particular reason is one common symptom which many women experience after birth. Not being able to enjoy one’s self when engaging in regular activities is another sign of depression.

Postnatal Depression Information
There are many mothers who feel that they are not as excited about having a child as they should be or they do not feel the right way about it, however this can be a sign of postnatal depression. Having trouble sleeping is yet another sign, and should be looked at carefully when trying to evaluate if you or someone you know has PND. Another very common symptom of this condition is anxiety, which can manifest itself in the form of not wanting to go out in public or deal with situations which normally are not a problem.

In many ways postnatal depression is much like regular clinical depression in the sense that the woman may have feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness. Mothers who have this condition find the challenges of being a new mother extraordinarily difficult, and this may result in bouts of crying or feeling completely numb altogether. The way it presents depends on the individual, though these are some of the most common symptoms seen in women who have PND. Getting less sleep as the result of having a new baby in the home can definitely trigger or worsen the depression; however there are many other factors which can explain it as well. One theory is that a chemical imbalance in the brain is responsible for feelings of postpartum depression. There are many of these kinds of changes in the body during pregnancy and after giving birth, which might explain why a woman may feel this way after having a child.

One of the women I worked with in addition to the underlying hormonal changes was able to gain insight into certain reasons her emotions were so volatile. She had worked full-time in a corporation where others relied upon her and was adjusting to her new role at home. Also, her mother had moved in for a few months and this triggered a lot of issues in terms of a pattern that recurs where her mom belittles her and undermines her authority. We worked on ways to feel empowered in relation to her mother and reverse the dynamic which was helpful in overcoming the feeling of helplessness.

1 Comment »

  1. My mom had postpartum depression after my sister and it really was difficult for her to cope with everything. She was very sad all the time and I helped out a lot with my baby sister.

    Comment by Sara — August 15, 2010 @ 10:05 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a comment

Powered by WordPress | privacy