Former K'taka CM's Granddaughter Dies by Suicide: Decoding Postpartum Depression
Postpartum depression in young mothers is often neglected, with their symptoms dismissed, not acknowledged.
(If you know someone or are personally dealing with postpartum mental health issues, know that you are not alone. Reach out to the NIMHANS Perinatal Mental Health Helpline - 8105711277 )
In a tragic turn of events, on Friday, 28 January, former Karnataka chief minister BS Yediyurappa's granddaughter died by suicide. She was allegedly suffering postpartum depression, according to Karnataka home minister Araga Dnyanerdra.
In her early 30s, the young woman was a doctor at MS Ramaiah hospital in Bengaluru. She leaves behind her husband, also a doctor, and a six month old child.
"There is no suspicion. We all knew she was battling depression post pregnancy. Yediyurappa himself brought her to his place at times to make sure she's happy," the minister was quoted as saying by India Today.
Postpartum depression in young mothers is often neglected, with their symptoms often dismissed as pressures of new motherhood. With timely intervention, doctors say, progress can be made.
What is Postpartum Depression?
According to the US NIH, fatigue, and worry for up to 2 weeks is quite normal due to hormonal changes, and physical and mental exertion.
A new mother needs time to adjust with the baby and her healing body. But if these feelings of sadness persist and affect your daily routine, you might be suffering from postpartum depression.
Around 50 to 75 percent of new moms are said to experience 'baby blues' in the first couple of weeks of motherhood.
In an earlier interview with FIT, Dr Ruksheda Syeda, a psychiatrist based in Mumbai, explains, "Just like any other mental health issue vs mental health disorder, when something is causing distress but not a significant amount of disorder, that’s when we call it ‘baby blue’, where it’s manageable, it's not of long standing, the symptoms aren’t severe, and it's not interfering with your daily work, your socio-occupational health or your interpersonal relationships."
"When we talk about postpartum depression, it has crossed that threshold where the symptoms are disrupting daily functioning.”
What Causes Postpartum Depression?
Fluctuation in reproductive hormones during and right after pregnancy could be a cause for Postpartum, or rather perinatal, depression in women, according to some studies.
This scientific validation, has been a huge driving force behind the legitimisation of PPD in women.
Other factors can include:
Genetic disposition to anxiety, depression
Social, psychological factors, including disonance between your expectations and reality.
"For instance, in India there more chances of a woman, especially, having postpartum depression after a girl child is born as opposed to after the birth of a boy child," explains Dr Syeda.
The pandemic, and the pressures that come with it has made dealing with postpartum depression worse.
In an earlier article for FIT, doctors spoke about the changing circumstances of how births take place. Dr Uma Vaidyanathan, a senior consultant of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Fortis Hospital, New Delhi, had said that the atmosphere had changed - “Deliveries are a joyful occasion, but everything had and still has mellowed.”
Postpartum treatment depends on how severe the symptoms and “include a combination of antidepressant medication, psychological counselling, or support groups,” adds Dr Vaidyanathan.
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