Valentina Colmi, author of the book “Out of the Blue – Reborn Mom”, talks about the symptoms of postpartum depression and explains what a mother suffering from baby blues should do
Symptoms of postpartum depression
There are stories that strike you for their ineffability. You wonder how it is possible, why they happen, especially in a period of life in which since childhood you have been taught that you will surely be happy. Cecilia in one of the many photos that have been disseminated in newspapers and on the net, he smiles. In some there is also her 5 month old baby. She is only 22 years old, yet she is already a mother. And proudly showed the growing belly with twins that mother from Brescia; she loved children, since she also looked after the children of others as a kindergarten teacher.
Probably everyone expected her to say that she was thrilled with the arrival of two creatures in one fell swoop, and perhaps they repeated to her how lucky she was, since she already had two other children at home. Cecilia and her young mother from Brescia have one point in common: the solitude infinite that led them to kill themselves and their children. In these cases the media always talk about postpartum depression, but I who have been through it can assure you that a depressed mother would never kill her child. It’s about a puerperal psychosis which was probably already there before pregnancy and which worsened in the post-partum phase.
If a woman succeeds in making this gesture, it is because motherhood somehow makes her rethink her childhood and if that period was difficult and painful you want to cancel it, you want to kill the “child” part that is represented by the arrival of the child. own child. Women who have the postpartum depression they are not crazy. They just need help, but often they cannot and do not want to ask for it for fear of being judged as monsters or bad mothers.
Motherhood is still too much of a cliché to be fully experienced, without superstructures: a woman is expected to become omniscient just by having given birth, who knows how to breastfeed right away, who knows how to recognize the type of baby cry at the first cry. Instead she is confused, scared and like everyone she just needs time to learn. Yet there is no time for anything, today’s mothers are not given respite: they must know how to do everything immediately, they must immediately get back in shape and to work in order to guarantee maximum efficiency. But always with a smile, because they received a great gift. So here comes the criticisms, the words that hurt because you are not well. “How? Now you are a mother, you cannot be sad! ”,“ Come on, there are those who are worse off than you ”,“ You must go back to normal ”. A normality that has changed forever.
Women with postpartum depression feel imprisoned, even in a comfortable home. They just want to go back, be the same, know that there will be a day when they will be better. Because they are afraid that life will be that forever, without a drop of happiness.
How does postpartum depression manifest, symptoms
The cry, anxiety, the desire not to be alone with the baby, always sleep or being constantly awake for fear that something bad might happen to the baby are symptoms that should not be underestimated, especially if they continue two weeks after birth. In fact, postpartum depression it occurs between 6 and 12 weeks after birth and does not go away.
According to DSM IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) these signs must be present almost every day for a period of at least 2 weeks:
- depressed mood most of the time;
- loss of interest or pleasure for all, or almost all, the possible activities of the day.
At least 5 of the following symptoms should be present for at least 2 weeks:
significant weight loss or gain without being on a diet, or decreased or increased appetite every day;
- insomnia or sleep loss almost every day;
- agitation or psychomotor slowing almost every day;
- fatigue or lack of energy almost every day;
feelings of self-depreciation or guilt excessive or inappropriate almost every day;
- impaired ability to think or concentrate, or indecision, almost every day;
- thoughts recurring of death.
Postpartum depression is’ a thief who steals motherhood; sometimes it occurs even earlier and then it is called pre-natal depression. The symptoms are more or less the same, but they are so vague and generic that it is often difficult to find an adequate diagnosis. One of the problems is precisely the underestimation of the phenomenon.
Who should women in difficulty turn to?
To the general practitioner? To the pediatrician? To the gynecologist? It is difficult for pre-natal courses to talk about it, as well as other health professionals. The emptiness, the absolute darkness. If this were the case, it would be possible to recognize cases of risk and begin a therapeutic path to avoid the onset of postpartum depression. Some hospitals do this, but they are still few and mothers prefer not to know, this is also the truth.
- A mom who needs help needs to go to a good therapist: there are several hospitals that undertake a free path; it usually heals within 6 months / 1 year. We must not be ashamed, do not lower our eyes, invite the mothers who have made it to the pre-birth courses not to scare but to inform. To prepare future mothers not to feel guilty. To live motherhood in one’s own way without expecting it to represent a saint who must be sacrificed. There is nothing worse than hearing a silent scream – yet so clear – like the one that Cecilia and the mother of the twins surely would have launched and which in fact rang out without an answer.