The tragic death of Dr Soundarya Neeraj, granddaughter of former chief minister BS Yediyurappa, has brought the focus back on postpartum depression of PPD. According to a report, the death of Soundaraya – who was a practicing obstetrician and gynecologist – is linked to postpartum depression. Karnataka Home Minister Araga Janendra told a news website that 30-year-old Soundaraya, along with her husband and nine-month-old baby, had been staying at Yediyurappa’s since her delivery and had returned to the house just a day before the tragic incident. Her body was found hanging in her house in Bengaluru. Janendra said she was undergoing treatment for her depression. Later, Yediyurappa’s office also confirmed that his granddaughter was suffering from postpartum depression.
What is postpartum depression?
Postpartum depression affects as much as 22 per cent of new mothers in the country. Despite being widely prevalent, PPD is not always detected because very few women go for post-pregnancy checkups.
Postpartum is a serious mental health condition. But most new mothers ignore it believing that it is a part of the process. Contrary to that, it is a dangerous medical illness that involves feelings of extreme sadness, indifference or anxiety. It also involves changes in energy, sleep and appetite and carries risks for the mother and child.
New mothers are at risk of developing mental health issues like depression and anxiety because the period shortly after delivery, they go through a long physical, emotional as well as social changes.
Postpartum depression is different from ‘baby blues’
Over 50 per cent of all new mothers experience ‘baby blues.’ This usually involves crying for no reason, irritability, restlessness and anxiety. While ‘baby blues’ last only for a week or two, postpartum depression is for a longer period of time. It may continue for months and can be emotionally and physically debilitating. Most importantly, this seriously affects childcare.
Experts suggest that if left untreated for over a year, postpartum depression can turn into other mental health related issues like paranoia and panic anxiety disorder.
Is postpartum depression treatable
According to experts, this is treatable and there are medications which can help new mothers without affecting the baby. Experts also suggest new mothers to get psychotherapy as it helps new mothers gain self-insight and understand their feelings and emotions.
Symptoms or signs to watch out for
Most of the time signs of postpartum depression are brushed aside as ‘normal’. But there are some symptoms and signs that one must look out for. Some of them are crying more than usual, decreased appetite, anxiety, decreased sleep and feeling of suffocation. New mothers suffering from postpartum depression have a lot of negative thoughts like – I am not good for the newborn, I am not a good mother, etc.