Postpartum depression is characterized by a depressed mood, severe anxiety, insomnia, excessive weight changes, decreased motivation, poor concentration, feelings of worthlessness or guilt about yourself, and, in severe cases, suicide or death during the postpartum period between 4 and 6 weeks after childbirth.
It is an illness that causes functional deterioration in daily life due to negative thoughts.
Although it is a relatively common illness that can be experienced by 10-20% of mothers, severe symptoms can threaten the happy life of both a mother and her baby.
According to overseas epidemiological studies, 25-35% of pregnant women complain of depressive symptoms, and 7-13% meet the diagnostic criteria for mild or major depressive disorder. However, according to the results of data analysis by the National Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service, when the prevalence of postpartum depression was estimated at 10 to 15%, less than 1% of patients receiving treatment were counted. Therefore, if you suspect you have symptoms of postpartum depression, it is necessary to actively seek help from those around you.
Postpartum Depression Self-Test:
Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale (EPDS)
How was your self-diagnosis result of postpartum depression? If the above evaluation score is 10 or higher, this is a state that should not be overlooked. Therefore, if the score is 10 or higher, please ask for an active consultation with a professional organisation such as a public health centre.
Do you feel postpartum depression?
1. Search for related counselling programs.
Public health centers and child-rearing support centers often provide various programs for postpartum depression. Just as you go to a hospital if you have a physical illness in your body, it is better to visit a specialist if you have an illness in your mind. Call the relevant center and ask if there is a way to get help. You can also get help from your borough's mental health promotion center.
2. Always encourage yourself.
One of the things that troubles the hearts of new parents is the worry and anxiety of 'I'm not doing the childcare wrong.' It's okay to be more tolerant of your mistakes, as long as you're not intentionally emotionally/physically abusing your child. Everyone needs experience to be good at something. For minor mistakes, please take it easy, and believe that you can do it. Criticising yourself doesn't guarantee perfect results. Don't forget that raising children requires a long-term view.
3. Take nutritional supplements.
You need to eat well and sleep well to be able to raise a child with a happy mind. But in reality, it's not easy. If it is difficult to eat properly and you cannot sleep well, at least use nutritional supplements to make up for the lack of nutrition. Nutrients such as vitamin D are closely related to depression. If your body lacks nutrients, you may feel unhealthy, and if your body is unwell, your mind will suffer more. Don't forget that a healthy mind resides in a healthy body!
4. Give your mind a break too.
If your child takes a break while taking a nap, you might already be thinking of what you can do during this 30-minute break, such as making baby food, looking for other items once you’ve prepared the food, creating lists, and so on. Don't do too many things in your head. It doesn't actually increase your work efficiency, and you need to practice relaxing when you're resting as well. Please allocate time to rest not only for your body, but also for your mind.
Author: Lee Ji-hyun
- A Secondary School Level 2 Teacher Certificate
- As a real mother of a child, she ponders specific parenting tips between reality and theory. She has worked as an educational civic activist and freelance journalist.