By Meida van Baal, doula and maternity nurse
Depression has been receiving a lot of coverage in the media lately. Recently the Dutch Ministry of Health has started a campaign to encourage more mothers to talk and share their experiences about postpartum depression—https://www.omgaanmetdepressie.nl/depressie-bespreekbaar-maken. Every year, 22,000 women (1 in 8 mothers) in this country suffer from postpartum depression after their delivery, and many of them suffer in silence.
New mothers often do not want to admit or express their feelings about depression in fear that they will be judged by other people. An admittance of depression after the delivery may seem like a sign of failure to adapt to motherhood, or worse yet, a sign that one is not a good mother.
It does not help that we as a society are active on social media by posting picture-perfect food, people, and lives. These are all appealing to the eye, but they give off the perception that perfection is the norm.
It takes a lot of courage to ask for help, but sometimes some mothers do not even realize that they have postpartum depression. That’s why family and friends play an important role in the period after the delivery. They can see changes in the new mother faster than the mother herself.
Are you at risk of postpartum depression*?
Personal history of depression
Family history of depression
Depression during pregnancy
Pregnancy is unwanted or unplanned
Had problems with the pregnancy
Had a traumatic delivery
Have a baby with special needs
Have no support from family and friends
Have money issues
Have difficulty with breastfeeding
Have issues with drugs/alcohol
Are young and single
What are some symptoms of postpartum depression**?
Feeling Anxious and/or gloomy
Being uninterested in general
Insomnia or excessive sleeping
Showing no interest in or is overly concerned with the baby
Feeling extremely tired
Confused, forgetful and poor concentration
Lack of appetite or an excessive amount of appetite;
What can you do if you think you are feeling depressed after the birth of your baby here in the Netherlands?
Talk to your midwife or midwives or general practitioner
Talk to your maternity nurse
Talk to your partner, friend or family member
Do not suffer alone, and ask for professional help.
Thu, 21 June