Postpartum Depression

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

Irritable

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.


*https://www.womenshealth.gov/mental-health/mental-health-conditions/postpartum-depression

**https://www.omgaanmetdepressie.nl/over-depressie/symptomen-van-een-depressie