Postpartum Stress: What, How And Why?

Posted on April 19, 2011 in Health and Life


By Srishti Chauhan:

Postpartum stress is the stress and anxiety that women suffer from post delivering a child. The characteristics of this stress range from being unaffectionate towards their own babies to being downright suicidal in many cases. The intensity of this stress varies from women to women depending on their lifestyle and majorly on the family support that they can avail.

The idea of postpartum stress in India is quite new and is not generally accepted as a serious symptom that can lead to massive problems. Postpartum stress came to be taken seriously in USA post an incident when a women burnt her new-born baby by putting him in an oven and ‘baking’ him.

This incident might sound rather out of context where the Indian society is considered. Psychologists are of the opinion that post partum stress wasn’t a phenomena worth considering until lately. Earlier, families used to consist of a number of members who could take turns in taking care of the baby and the mother. With the arrival of nuclear family system, it is not only difficult for the mother to cope up with the responsibilities of the child but also problematic for her to get her life back on track.

Strange though it may sound, but there are many mothers who actually compete with their child for attention. With the coming of a new family member, the entire attention is generally concentrated on the baby and the mother feels somewhat out of picture. This makes the women feel neglected and hence the competition for attention begins. In extreme cases, like the one mentioned above, this competition turns to pure hostility.

However, this is not something unusual and nor is it something that the mother of the child needs to feel extremely guilty about. Experts say that this is a natural phenomena. The mothers do not hate the babies in the true sense of the word. It is just a transient feeling that they experience. With proper support and care, this can vanish in a matter of less than a few weeks.

In India, we are yet to recognize the effects and symptoms of postpartum stress. This is yet unrecognized as a serious business.

Although, with the existence of the stressful lives that the people in metropolises are living, this might just be the newest thing to worry about.

The natural question that arises here is regarding what a mother in a nuclear family can do to prevent such extreme situations from arising. It is said that firstly, the entire burden of childbirth should not be borne by the woman of the house alone. No wonder, recently there has been a trend of the fathers taking leave after the entry of a child into their house.

Secondly it is not advised for women to halt their professional life completely postpartum. Most women tend to leave jobs and focus entirely on bringing up their child. While this might be considered as an immensely selfless practice and this does indeed make them wonderful mothers, but this hampers their lives as an individual. Women who leave jobs post childbirth find it difficult to get back to good jobs in case the gap has been for a year or two. Moreover, concentrating solely on the child makes the women get tired of a child after a while, say the experts.

Again, this might be considered an unnatural phenomenon. How can a mother get tired of her child? This is impossible. True that it. It is impossible for a mother to get tired of a child. But what is being said repeatedly is that this is an ephemeral feeling that mothers gets because they suddenly feel the lack of things in their life beside their child.

With this, all that is left to be said it that maybe this is the new age ‘disease’ that India shall encounter. With the peak stress levels reach in this new age, this is going to be a very common occurrence. No wonder psychology is considered as the new big thing!