Baby blues and postpartum depression: where does the anger at your own baby come from?

Baby blues and postpartum depression: where does the anger at your own baby come from?

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Anger on your own baby: Postpartum depression is often underestimated
Mothers often experience the so-called "baby blues" in the first weeks after the birth of their child, which can develop into serious postpartum depression. Celebrities, such as Hollywood actress Brooke Shields, spoke in public about their depression. But many other mothers are silent.

Many women are silent about their depression
Many mothers experience severe mood swings after birth. The so-called “baby blues” can develop into serious postpartum depression, also called postnatal depression. Most of the women affected are silent about this phenomenon, mostly out of shame. In addition, the disease is often not even recognized. It is actually easy to treat. Postpartum depression should not be downplayed. In a current report by the dpa news agency, several experts have their say on the subject. But first a victim:

Anger at the baby and thoughts of suicide
Hannah Keller (name changed by the editors) fell into a deep depression after the birth of her first daughter. "I felt like I was behind glass for months," said the 35-year-old from the Rhein-Main area. "It was a matter of luck that I didn't do anything irreparable to myself or the child." Neither her family nor the midwife, the gynecologist or the pediatrician realized what was wrong with the woman. Even with psychiatrists and a baby outpatient clinic, Keller had the experience: "Depression after birth is a stepchild." The director of the Department of Psychiatry at Frankfurt University, Prof. Andreas Reif, said: "The training and knowledge of these symptoms and this disease are not as good as it should be. ”In addition, many women would not share their depression out of feelings of shame and guilt. "They often write to themselves that they have failed and are not a good mother," said Reif. "It is not a failure, nobody can do anything for it." In addition, the disease can be treated well.

Upset after childbirth
Quite a few women are affected. "A baby blues is very common in 50 to 60 percent of women," said Silvia Oddo-Sommerfeld, senior psychologist in the obstetrics department at the University Hospital Frankfurt. As a rule, the “howling days”, also known as disgruntlement, occur in the first week after birth, often in the hospital. It is purely hormonal and normally does not need to be treated.

About ten to 15 percent of mothers suffered from depression after birth. However, this is by no means always diagnosed, said the head of the Techniker Krankenkasse in Hesse, Barbara Voß. But there are also fathers with postpartum depression. According to scientists, a proportion similar to that of women is affected. After childbirth, depression can develop, especially in overwhelmed men. According to experts, fathers in patchwork families are particularly at risk.

Different causes
When asked about the causes, Keller explained: "A lot came together." On the one hand, it was "a very quick, violent and painful birth". In addition, the behavioral therapist found no rest in the crowded ward of the clinic, and her little daughter screamed from the beginning, "as if she was dying". About her first months as a mother, she said: "I did everything I could to prevent her from screaming and trying to keep the shop going." Her environment reacted with incomprehension: "For me it was as if I go to chemo and people say: Enjoy it! ”According to the experts, women who have suffered from mood disorders before or who were anxious and depressed during pregnancy are at greater risk of getting sick. Depression in the family can also be a factor.

"It is not that rare that a mental illness unmasked for the first time in the puerperium," said Reif. According to Oddo-Sommerfeld, the mother's social support also plays a role. "Especially if the partner does not support the woman, the risk is somewhat higher." Reif, on the other hand, said: "Classic postpartum depression can also be found in women who live in a perfect environment, where the partner is fully behind it, everyone is happy and the birth went smoothly. "

Depression should be treated in time
According to Oddo-Sommerfeld, recent studies show that the orientation of the mother's personality can also be a risk factor: "As a rule, these are very autonomous, conscientious and perfectionist women," explained the psychotherapist. "It is often difficult for them to no longer be able to control everything independently with a child." In addition, in her many years of work, she had the experience that it tends to affect women from higher educational levels. Oddo-Sommerfeld has set up a “postpartum depression hotline” and asks women to seek help quickly. Postpartum depressions often recur in the second child, according to Reif. The same thing happened to Keller with her second daughter. Although the birth was as self-determined as possible and ultimately "totally beautiful", six weeks later she was overcome by depression: "Within a second I was faced with an abyss that was not there before and that no longer went away."

For several months, they tormented insane fear of death. With the help of antidepressants, she was able to overcome her depression and did not have to do without breastfeeding. As Reif explained, the therapy combines psychopharmacology with psychotherapy. In severe cases, it is also about getting back in touch with the child. According to Oddo-Sommerfeld, psychotherapy works very well if it starts in the first two to three months after birth. The expert warned: "Failure to treat depression in time will have a massive impact on the child, the whole family and the partnership." (Ad)

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Video: Postpartum Depression: What You Need to Know


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