Postpartum blues can hit when you least expect it. Read on to find out more.
WORDS CHRISTEL GERALYN GOMES
Feeling down or unhappy after delivery is more common than you think but it does not make you a bad mum and certainly is not something you should feel guilty about. In fact, hormones cause much of your emotions and you have little control over it.
According to Dr Ong Xiaohui, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at WC Cheng & Associates, Thomson Medical Centre, postpartum blues affects a whopping 5O to 85 per cent of mothers and often lasts for less than 1O days, usually resolving on its own and needing no medical intervention.
“Symptoms may include tearfulness, fatigue, depressed affect and irritability.
Often, reassurance and support from loved ones are sufficient,” says Dr Ong.
However, according to Dr Theresa Lee, senior consultant at the Department of Psychological Medicine at KKH, 10 to 15 per cent of mothers will suffer from postnatal depression or anxiety, a more serious condition. In such cases, Dr Lee advises to consult your obstetrician or family doctor, who might then recommend a psychiatric referral.
“If the depression is mild, she may need just counselling and support. If the postnatal depression is moderate to severe, she may need antidepressant medication that can be used safely while breastfeeding,” says Dr Lee.
That said, knowing your experience is shared by many mums is also helpful. Know that in the larger scheme of things, nobody really knows what they’re doing and it’s perfectly okay to not get it right all the time. Being a mum is as close as women get to being superhuman, so take a deep breath, and enjoy the ride.