• Sep 22, 2021 . 2 min Read
  • How to help a new mother grappling with depression

How to help a new mother grappling with depression
Ritah Mukasa
Journalist @New Vision

After delivery, the mother is expected to behave normally. For example, they put the labour pains aside and show excitement for the baby.

 However, some mothers behave differently, and this points to depression.

Dr. Junior Ndozire, a gynecologist at Mildmay Uganda Hospital says, several mothers, suffer post-natal depression (PPD). 

They feel hopeless, discouraged, sad or tearful. They will also be irritable, angry hostile and lose interest in things that usually interested them.

“When a mother stops taking care of the baby or hates them, know she is depressed,” he notes. 

Additionally, some get sleep disturbances; either excessive or lack of sleep while others feel extreme fatigue, agitation and sluggishness in the execution of daily routines. 

They can also lose appetite and cry all the time for no reason. They also have unnecessary visits to the hospital about the baby or themselves.

Also, the mother can manifest anxiety about the baby’s health, worry about her ability to care for the baby and negative perception of the baby’s temperament and behaviour. 

“Others stop adhering to postnatal care and start using alcohol and drugs,” he highlights.  

In severe cases, they develop suicidal thoughts. They can attempt suicide or even hurt the baby and those around her.

Usually, mothers and their caretakers take the symptoms lightly, but they build up to severe cases.

How to help a depressed mother 

Ndozire advises giving social, financial, and physical support to the mother. He adds that motherhood is overwhelming. 

Therefore, a mother needs a support system while going through all the emotional and physical changes.

Relatedly, Suzan Nalwoga a counselling psychologist cautions men to understand that bonding with their wives after childbirth is important. 

Help with the baby, she will feel you are together. It brings some relief.

“Mothers need full support from pregnancy all through till the baby is at least a year. Be sensitive to her pains and worries,” she suggests.

For example, assure them that they are the best mothers, ensure they get enough sleep and most importantly, encourage them to open up about their fears.

On the other hand, Ndozire says that if signs are identified early, it helps to avert the effects if the victims seek medical help.

Treatment involves a thorough assessment of the mother to identify risks and triggers, talking to the family, counseling, prescription of antidepressant medication and follow up.

Mugabe adds that in severe cases, the mother is admitted. They are also linked to groups of mothers who have gone through PPD.

Nalwoga suggests including psychosocial support to mothers before and after birth and creating awareness about PPD in all health facilities. 

“It should be compulsory for all women to see a counsellor and psychiatrist during pregnancy and after,” she opines.

 

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