Postpartum depression can occur between 4 and 6 weeks after childbirth, i.e., during the postpartum period, where you can experience a depressed mood, severe anxiety, insomnia, excessive weight changes, decreased motivation, poor concentration, feelings of worthlessness or guilt about yourself, and, in severe cases, thoughts of suicide or death. It is an illness that causes functional deterioration in daily life.
About 10% of postpartum women show symptoms similar to those of major depressive disorder within a few weeks after giving birth. Usually, this feeling of depression subsides after 2 to 6 months, but residual symptoms may persist for up to a year after childbirth.
Tip: What is the difference between mild postpartum depression and severe postpartum depression?
Postpartum depression refers to the 'depressed feeling' experienced by about 80% of all mothers after childbirth. Symptoms are most severe on the 3rd to 5th day after childbirth. It is a problem caused by hormonal changes due to childbirth. Milder postpartum depression usually goes away naturally due to hormonal changes. More severe cases of postpartum depression may persist over time and require appropriate treatment.
Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale (EPDS)
If the above evaluation score is 10 or more, it is a state that should not be overlooked. Therefore, if the score is 10 or higher, ask for active consultation with a professional organization such as a public health center.
What should I do if I feel like I’m experiencing postpartum depression?
1. Look for related counselling programs at public health centers, etc.
Public health centers, childcare support centers, and ward offices often provide various programs to overcome postpartum depression. When suffering from an illness, it is often difficult to self-manage it.
If you need consultation with an expert, try actively using it. Call the relevant centre and ask if there is a way to get help. You can also get help from your borough's mental health promotion centre.
2. Find friends with whom you can relate.
The mind of a primary caregiver is best understood by another primary caregiver. So, find a friend with whom you can confide. You can make friends in the kitchen or talk to ta caregiver who is raising children your age at the local playground. Think of someone who can understand and support you, such as your seniors and juniors at work, friends who have given birth before, your family, and your spouse.
Tip: During this time, try not to run into people who undermine your self-esteem. It's better to make excuses and walk away to protect your mental health.
3. No one can be a perfect parent.
One of the things that troubles the minds of first-time parents is the worry and anxiety that 'I'm doing the childcare wrong.' It's okay to be tolerant of your mistakes, as long as you're not emotionally/physically hurting your child.
Everyone needs experience to be good at something. For minor mistakes, please take it easy. Chastising yourself doesn't guarantee perfect results. Don't forget that it's a job to raise people, so you have to take a long-term perspective.
4. Get sunlight and take nutritional supplements.
Nutrients such as vitamin D are closely related to depression. Therefore, if you are exposed to the sun frequently, you might feel better. If you are in a situation where it is difficult to get a lot of sun, take nutritional supplements.
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!
5. Take time to get away from parenting.
Think about your time as an examining student. Holding on to a book for 24 hours does not mean that you will study well. Sometimes doing something else and getting a good rest also helped improve your learning ability. If you stick to childrearing alone, it will become more difficult to raise your child.
If you don't have a trusted family member, friend, or someone close to you, try actively using the childcare services provided by the state. If you can go out without your child even for an hour or two a week, you will feel more at ease.
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.