You gave birth several weeks ago and your baby is a marvel! However, you are on edge, and you feel tired, without enthusiasm. And to top it off, you can’t stop crying when you have just given birth to this little piece of cabbage you were hoping for so much… And if it was postpartum depression? Detect with us the symptoms of this disease and adopt our five tips to remedy it.

definition of postpartum depression:

According to scientists and the medical community, postpartum depression represents a “depressive syndrome that most often appears within four to eight weeks after childbirth with varying intensity. Its beginning is possible by an array of “postpartum blues” that lasts”.

After childbirth, psychological and hormonal upheavals disturb the life of the young mother. She feels vulnerable, irritable, amputated, melancholic. It’s called the baby blues. This phenomenon is due to the profound hormonal changes that follow childbirth and the symptoms usually disappear as quickly as they appeared.

On the other hand, postpartum (or postnatal) depression is much more worrying. It is the extension of this “baby blues” and can last a long time. As long as it is not detected and taken care of…

After being pampered for 9 months, the young mother finds herself faced with a fait accompli: the baby is here, and with it great joys, but also great responsibilities. It is no longer “one”, but “two” and it is often difficult to assume. Moreover, the testimonies of mothers who have experienced postpartum depression confirm this: returning home is often accompanied by great anxiety, but also by deep despair and the desire to let go of everything.

Postpartum depression: what symptoms?

Very often, the mother experiences a fatigue that borders on exhaustion. It is obviously normal to be tired after childbirth and with the arrival of new responsibilities. But in the case of depression, it is an extraordinary fatigue, which can even be impressive from the outside. Conversely, the woman victim of post-natal depression can be feverish and hyper-active. At the same time, sleep disorders are also often present (insomnia or hypersomnia).
Repeated crying, which we often try to hide.
Greater irritability or disproportionate and/or repeated anger.
Constant anxiety, sometimes going as far as powerful anxiety attacks.
The young mother may have the impression that she is unable to love her baby. Or, on the contrary, the fact of loving him can turn out to be a real pain.
It’s not uncommon for her to feel like she can’t handle it, feeling unusually helpless in the face of her new responsibilities.
Of course, not every mom victim of postnatal depression experiences all of these symptoms, but perhaps one or more of them, more or less pronounced. As she often tends to want to hide them, you have to be attentive to the slightest change from her usual behavior, without however becoming excessively anxious. It is of course normal to go through a phase of adaptation, especially when it comes to the first child.

Postnatal depression: who to consult and how to get out of it?

The ideal is to go to a parent-child unit made up of a whole team of professionals (child psychiatrists, psychologists, child nurses, nurses, etc.). Depending on the situation, the mother can stay there with her baby for the day, in full-time hospitalization or for simple consultations. The advantage is that she receives the appropriate support while remaining with her child. Unfortunately, these structures are few and are therefore overloaded. In an attempt to help as many mothers as possible, some have therefore set up home consultations, which can also present an interesting solution. Another alternative: discuss the subject with the midwife during the postnatal consultation. It is important not to minimize the situation, but on the contrary to clearly specify all the symptoms. She will be able to direct you to the right person and solutions.

The attending physician will probably not be able to treat the mother himself but he will be able, in view of his symptoms, to direct him to the service or the professional he considers most suitable. This option is probably preferable to going directly to a psychologist or psychiatrist. Post-natal depression is very special, so it is better to contact a specialist in the matter and not a “generalist” psychiatrist or psychologist. All in all, care has improved in recent years, but a lot of work remains to be done, says Nadège Beauvois, from the association Maman blues. “Professionals are much better trained to take care of this depression. On the other hand, we are still sorely lacking in suitable structures, where mothers can be received with their baby, which nevertheless seems an elementary prerequisite.”

The management of postnatal depression is somewhat similar to that of classic depression. The first step is to consult as soon as possible. The less the symptoms are anchored in the mother’s daily life, the faster she will recover. In many cases, simple psychological support can be enough to restore the mother’s strength and make her see things in a more positive light. It may take a little time, of course, but the results are good. We hesitate more to give psychotropic drugs than in the context of a “classic” depression. “But antidepressants can be prescribed when the situation is worrying and does not improve quickly with psychotherapy,” says Dr. Dayan.Care must be taken, however, as these medications are generally not compatible with breastfeeding, which is likely to cause additional guilt for the mother”.