New mothers always look so happy in TV adverts, don’t they? They smile at the sleeping babies they’re rocking in their arms and it looks like they’re just having the best time bonding with their newborns.
But in reality, mothers are often faced with a rollercoaster of emotions postbirth – excitement, anxiety, doubt and sadness.
And these are aggravated by the big change of having a new person they’re responsible for, and lack of sleep.
It’s all part of what is known as “baby blues” and it typically lasts about two weeks.
But for many women, these symptoms continue and worsen instead of getting better. They develop postpartum depression, which can interfere with a mom’s ability to handle daily tasks.
It doesn’t discriminate and most mothers don’t realise they have it.
“I’ve seen it in teenage mothers, abomakoti and older women in their forties,” says Nomonde Precious Stamper, a social work practitioner and director and founder of Eyam Consultancy in Grahamstown.
These can crop up any time during the year after giving birth.
Support from the father of the child and family and friends is vital when a woman gives birth, as she might not recognise these symptoms herself and may need someone to tell her.
The symptoms of postpartum depression include:
Difficulty bonding with your baby
Withdrawing from family and friends
Loss of appetite or eating much more
than usual Insomnia or sleeping too much
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