We hear an impressive amount of folklore about the after birth depression that surprisingly happens to an increasing number of new mothers.
I admit that I too panicked when I first gave a bath to my first child, especially because I was terrified not to drop or hurt him but from there on to pathological anxiety the road is very long.
Still when my friend’s daughter had her little girl, both her mom and me noticed that something was completely off from what, us, older moms knew about the fear of handling a newborn.
Of course that living so close to the great power of the internet I came across the post partum depression topic before and I knew that it was related to the hormonal changes affecting the women during the first months after giving birth.
Since nobody exactly knew what exactly was causing it we felt compelled to look even farther.
The new mom was by nature an emotional being, emotional state that was amplified by the state of single motherhood. So along the usual signs of depression like sadness, lack of interest, appetite lost and insomnia she started to manifest an unexpected aggressive attitude towards her baby, the thing that pretty much made all of us freak out.
She was annoyed to hear the little one cry, and she barely held the baby girl in her arms.
In spite of the fact that we explained to her, that being afraid not to hurt the baby was completely natural she refused to hold her.
On the other hand the baby was crying all the time like she was feeling her mom did not want to be near her and that made the young mother to feel an overwhelming guilt because she could not feel close to her baby.
Of course the symptoms sounded an alarm in all of our heads. We were feeling extremely sorry for the young mother and post partum depression was not something we could fix no matter how hard we tried.
So her mom took the logical step and took her to a psychologist and that was perhaps the best thing she did.
It seems that the hormonal changes, the fear of seeing herself as a single mom heartbroken because of the love she lost after conceiving the little one pushed the already emotional girl into a very severe depression.
Her sentimental anguish and lack of balance turned her into a very sad person making it impossible for her to feel a connection to her baby and the fact she was perfectly aware of the problem made it worst.
I admit that seeing her mom being afraid for her got me thinking, so when the doctor asked all of us to attend some preparing sessions I totally agreed.
The young mom was undergoing medical treatment to help her fight the depression but she also needed support so all of us learned how to offer it to her.
We were taught to encourage her to interact with the baby, to encourage her telling how good she is doing, to let her know how important she is for all of us and how much she can mean for her baby.
The main point was to increase her self esteem and to encourage her to feel positive, so we did exactly that.
To our surprise the strategy worked. Without being pressured the young mom was receptive to the treatment and being surrounded by warm people ready to give her a hand and help her understand the motherhood, she overcame the depression.
It did not happen over night but when it did she was the mother her beautiful baby deserved to have.