It’s normal for some women to suffer from depression during pregnancy as well as after giving birth. Worldwide, around one-in-eight mothers suffer from depression whether during pregnancy or afterward. In low and middle-income countries, this rate could climb to one-third of women.
We’ve all been told a lot of stories about depression related to pregnancy by our family members and friends. Some of these stories end with tragic endings like suicides and murders.
At a recent informal gathering of Indonesian graduate students from Melbourne University, I discovered all of my female classmates were depressed after becoming mothers.
The most difficult thing for every new mom was to deal with depression on her own. The typical signs of depression include feeling depressed and depressed about the future, as being depressed and lacking energy and vitality. People believed that feeling depressed was an inevitable part of being a mother, and that complaining about it could mean that they weren’t excellent mothers.
Women aren’t aware that they’re experiencing signs of depression. They are depressed, but they have no idea as to why or what they should do. The majority of them will try to ignore the issue and pretend everything is okay. There are a handful of people who seek assistance.
An excessive concern regarding the safety of the infant can lead to depressive symptoms in mothers who are expecting as well as breastfeeding mothers. There are mothers who have a vague fear that something might occur to their baby.
Women’s insecurity in their abilities to look after the child also contributes to depression. Women may feel unworthy and aren’t ready to be mothers because they are uncertain about their knowledge about pregnancy and how they will bring up a child. These fears can be made more evident for women experiencing financial hardship.
The social pressures and cultural norms that define the concept of a good mother can also lead to depression in women.
Unhappy breastfeeding mothers can disrupt the mother-infant bond. The negativity not just impacts the mothers, but also the infants.
Pregnant women who suffer from depression are more likely to not take care of their own requirements. They have less appetite, and consequently are more susceptible to eating poorly.
This could result in an increase in the chance of having babies born having small birth weights. The low birth weight of babies can trigger serious health issues, such as an inability to develop psychologically and stunting, chronic illnesses, and even death of the child.
Children and babies of mothers who are depressed are more likely to be affected by health problems. Apart from being underweight infants may be affected by the small size of their heads and sleep disorders and eating problems. In certain countries, mothers’ depression is often associated with diarrhea-related episodes as well as insufficient immunization programs.
Children with depressed mothers could be affected by a delay in cognitive development, including slowing down of speech or reduced IQs.
Each of these risk factors could be long-lasting and cause problems until the age of adolescence.
The depression of mothers can also affect the production of breast milk. People I know have said that they can’t produce any breast milk in the event of depression. This prevents babies from taking maximum benefits of nutrients derived from breastfeeding, which can hinder their growth as well as development.
The mothers of depressed mothers also experience problems in recognizing the emotions of their infants. This may cause stress for babies because mothers don’t take their baby’s needs into consideration. They may perceive themselves as inadequate and this can result in their health deteriorating further.
In the end, these effects could contribute to the burden of financial responsibility on families as they are required to plan for the costs of health care for children with health issues that might impact them throughout their lives.
The delays in cognitive development can cause additional costs for special education as well as other therapies. Parents can also lose productive time as they require more time to take care of their children.
What do I do?
It is essential to be aware of the emotional well-being of mothers.
The majority of women in Indonesia think that their children need more than their own. This is a belief that causes many women to ignore their emotional well-being for their children. Before seeking out support from friends and family, it’s essential for mothers to admit that they are depressed.
The care and support needed to ensure the happiness of mothers throughout the time of the mother’s pregnancy and breastfeeding is extremely crucial. The initial support should come from your family.
Husbands play a crucial part to play in aiding depressed mothers. They need to learn to accept and have a non-judgmental attitude to assist their spouses. If mothers feel that they are valued and respected, they are able to tackle their issues every day at home prior to taking professional advice.
Another source of support is local health centers and their employees. Indonesia has come up with an guidelines which outline the role of health professionals from the local area in aiding mothers suffering from depression with their issues.
My current research into the function of health professionals within Surabaya, East Java, shows that their efforts are not optimized in helping mothers suffering from Depression, even despite the growth of awareness about the subject. The most recent study suggests that at most one-in-five women in Surabaya suffer postnatal depression.
In accordance with the national guidelines, the local health facilities are encouraged to offer the women a particular service to express their emotions. Health workers in the community are required to complete the necessary training to provide support for mothers who suffer from depression.
In reality, Indonesia lacks the data to assess and monitor the effectiveness of these guidelines. This is a different issue to address. If we have the right information, we’ll be able to identify what’s not being done and provide better services for mothers suffering from depression.