How Postpartum Depression Affects Child Development
The bonding between mother and child begins in the womb and continues after the baby is born. And for that bond to grow deeper, constant positive interaction between the mother and child is strongly encouraged.
But sometimes, mothers go through postpartum depression. This condition causes them to experience symptoms that make them feel that they’re not well or at their best. This condition may negatively affect children if not addressed properly. Here’s what you need to learn about child care while undergoing postpartum depression:
Approximately 10 percent of mothers experience postpartum depression, a condition that lasts for about four weeks and even up to a year. Its symptoms might hinder you from bonding with your newborn. You might experience negative emotions, but you can get better with the right help.
- Feeling Different – You might lose interest in the things you used to enjoy, and your sleeping patterns change. Your eating habits also change; sometimes, you eat less, and sometimes more.
- Experiencing Extreme Sadness – There may be times you feel hopeless, worthless, and ashamed. Sometimes, you might even cry for no reason.
- Not Feeling Well Overall – You might have low energy and poor appetite. There may also be days when you don’t want to interact with anyone, even the people closest to you. You might not feel well enough to think clearly, concentrate, and make decisions.
Learning and Development
The early bond between a mother and her child is crucial for the baby’s growth. It is the time when they will learn about the different skills needed in life. There is a study that relates postpartum depression with the behavioural and cognitive development of children.
Positive feedback is essential for children. It helps them get motivated, stimulating your child to learn more. However, doing the opposite can affect the baby’s ability to process information. As they get older, your child might have difficulties in school.
Children develop behaviours based on what they see from the people around them, and most of the time, the kids are with their mothers. Just the act of holding, rocking, and talking to a baby promote emotional attachment. It helps the baby learn how to trust other people, and it will serve as a good foundation when they explore the world.
If a mother experiences postpartum depression, she might not be able to care about the baby all the time. The condition hinders the attachment needed for the baby to learn and develop good emotional intelligence. When there is no secure attachment, the baby will have difficulty interacting with their parents. They might become passive, and they might even have trouble developing skills.
Future Mental Health Disorders
The effects of postpartum depression can be seen even after infancy. As the baby grows up, they will have difficulty with discipline, trouble interacting with others, andrisk developing mental health problems. A study suggests that children of mothers who have postpartum depression are likely to develop depression, even when they become young adults.
The Key to a Good Connection With Your Child
Many mothers have struggled with postpartum depression, but not everyone acknowledges it. Some feel bad, ashamed, or afraid to be judged. But remember, helping yourself is the key to helping your child. The better you feel, the more you can bond with your baby.
You can always go to professionals and get a diagnosis. After which, the professional will recommend the best course of action for you to take. Postpartum support comes in many forms:
- Talk Therapy Sessions – one-on-one sessions with a mental health professional like a psychologist or a psychiatrist.
- Group Counseling – together with a support group, you talk about your experiences and problems.
- Medications – there are certain drugs that are prescribed to mothers who experience extreme depression.
- Self-Care Activities – sometimes, you can feel better by doing things like breathing exercises and other relaxation techniques.
Remember that you are not alone. It’s okay to feel down and acknowledge that you need support. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It may come from your friends, family, and mental health professionals. Getting support allows you to take care of your child better, preventing them from having trouble in their early stages of development.