Postpartum depression is the experience of an extremely unhappy, anxious, and unmotivated state following the birth of a child. It can occur within the first three weeks, but up to the first year of the baby’s life. Often times the new mother is additionally distressed because as a result of the depression, she may not feel like she’s able to bond with her baby.
The onset of this depression seems to be precipitated by the changing hormonal balances in the woman’s body following the birth, and the usual increased demands for parenting work required of a woman who has just undergone the very strenuous experience of giving birth. Those with a history of depression may be more apt to be affected. A woman suffering from postpartum depression may be unable to think clearly, take care of herself or the baby or feel joy in what she normally does.
The depression actually erodes her capacity to cope with the depression and the situation. Usually, a combination of medical intervention, therapy, and support will help her to make a complete recovery and feel bonded to her child.