Postnatal depression is not just a sudden change in hormonal level which makes women feel miserable. It is a real condition which can and shall be treated. Natural changes in the woman’s body are temporary and they will pass in a few days after the childbirth, whereas depression is a lasting consequence of shock. Depressed women can be sad, scared, anxious without any solid reason for that or even possess suicidal thoughts. They are unable to cope even with the smallest tasks and may have eating or sleep disorders.
Postnatal depression affects the whole family as it disturbs normal interaction and integrity of the family which is especially urgent when the baby is born. Withdrawal from a baby is a huge stressor which will inevitably find its impact on the child’s development. Israeli researchers concluded that children of depressed mothers showed low social engagement. Postnatal stress deters child’s normal fear regulation and enhances reactivity to physiological stress. In many cases, a baby does not accept their depressed mother as someone special because they get used to being nursed by the rest of the family. This fact may be even harsher for mothers who feel the whole world turning away from them.
It is impossible to provide support and counseling for women with prenatal depression. There is nothing to be ashamed of, instead, mothers shall let other people help them. No psychiatrist will be able to help those mothers who do not want to recover themselves. Perhaps, women who feel that they may be prone to prenatal depression shall be ready to face it yet during the pregnancy. Staying in touch with another pregnant woman, for example, will help to avoid isolation and fear.