Last Updated on September 5, 2022 by Morris Green
The birth of your child is an amazing moment and a wonderful cause for celebration. Whether this is your first or tenth baby, every birth is different and affects your body, your family and your relationship in beautiful yet complex ways. Because of these changes, you may experience mood swings and strong emotions that don’t normally come your way. These can calm down in a few weeks, but if you start having feelings of depression, you may be suffering from postpartum depression, and you are not alone. Many parents experience this, and here are some factors that can affect this condition.
1. Support System
The stress and responsibility of a newborn can be tremendous on a couple that has a limited family or friend support system to help them navigate new waters. Our mobile society and spread-out families are different from how things used to be according to 1950 census records when people lived closer to family and had more people to rely on during life events. You may feel overwhelmed by caring for your new little one and not having many people close by to help, and this could affect feelings of depression.
The drop in estrogen and progesterone after childbirth could lead to hormonal shifts and leave you feeling sluggish, tired and depressed. These physical changes are common and can even out in a few weeks, but if they don’t, then it is important to tell your doctor and talk about the possibility of being treated for postpartum depression.
3. Financial Changes
Dealing with the financial changes that having a baby creates can be stressful even with the best plans and this stress can affect postpartum depression. Sometimes unforeseen situations arise that could not be anticipated so preparation wasn’t possible and finding solutions to new problems while caring for a newborn can be overwhelming. Maybe you thought family leave lasted longer than your company is allowing or that certain bills would be covered by insurance that are now being denied. Finances can definitely affect depression levels in new families.
4. Sleep Deprivation
There are few things quite as debilitating as sleep deprivation and the effect this can have on the mind, body and heart. If your new little one doesn’t sleep much that means you probably don’t either and this state of constant tiredness can wear down your mental health quickly. Begin constantly tired certainly can affect postpartum depression and is a reason it is so important to take up family and friends on their offers to help watch the baby while you sleep or switch feeding turns with your partner so you both get rest.
5. Health Complications
Childbirth is not always picture perfect and when complications occur, they could lead to major changes in your or your baby’s health. These changes could create huge stressors that turn into depression and anxiety. Other health-related situations that affect postpartum depression include disease diagnosis, trouble breastfeeding or illnesses. If you or your newborn have health complications it may be difficult to give older children the attention they are used to and tensions could be high from strained relationships, which add to depression factors.
6. History of Depression
Looking at your family history for depression or other types of mood disorders is another factor affecting postpartum depression. If you have suffered from it after other pregnancies or have been diagnosed with bipolar, then you may be at risk. The fact that you may have suffered from depression before doesn’t mean you will with every pregnancy. Each birth changes the body in different ways and just because something happened once doesn’t mean it will happen again.
The human body is very complex and the event of giving birth changes it in unpredictable ways. Add to the physical changes any problems with finances or relationships and you have an equation that could lead to postpartum depression but can be managed through medical help and attention.