The Impact of Postpartum Depression on the Mother-Infant Bond

The Impact of Postpartum Depression on the Mother-Infant Bond

As a mother, there is no greater bond than the one shared with her child. However, for mothers experiencing postpartum depression, this bond can become strained, and feelings of sadness, guilt, and hopelessness can overshadow the joys of motherhood. The impact of postpartum depression on the mother-infant bond is a topic that hits close to home for me. When I gave birth to my first child, I was unprepared for the overwhelming feelings of anxiety and depression that followed. As a result, my connection with my newborn suffered, and I felt a sense of disconnection that was hard to shake. It wasn’t until I sought treatment and support that I began to rebuild the bond with my child and find joy in motherhood again. Understanding the impact of postpartum depression on the mother-infant bond is crucial for new mothers, families, and healthcare providers. By recognizing the signs and symptoms and seeking appropriate help, mothers can overcome this challenge and develop a strong and healthy relationship with their newborns.

What is postpartum depression?

Postpartum depression (PPD) is a mood disorder that affects some women after giving birth. It’s a type of major depression that can develop within the first few weeks or months following delivery but may occur up to a year after childbirth. PPD is thought to be caused by a combination of hormonal changes, psychological adjustment to motherhood, and other factors such as genetics, sleep deprivation, and social support. Women with PPD often experience feelings of sadness, hopelessness, irritability, and anxiety and may have difficulty bonding with their newborns. PPD can have a significant impact on a mother’s well-being, as well as her relationship with her partner and her child. However, PPD is treatable, and with the right support and intervention, most women can recover fully. Treatment options may include therapy, medication, or a combination of both and may involve a variety of mental health professionals, including psychiatrists, psychologists, and licensed counselors. It’s important for new mothers and their families to recognize the signs and symptoms of PPD and seek appropriate help and support if needed.

the impact of postpartum depression on the mother-infant bond

Postpartum Depression Symptoms:

Here are some common symptoms of postpartum depression:

  1. Feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or emptiness
  2. Mood swings, including anger or irritability
  3. Difficulty bonding with the baby
  4. Changes in appetite or sleep patterns
  5. Fatigue or loss of energy
  6. Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
  7. Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  8. Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  9. Physical symptoms, such as headaches, stomach problems, or muscle pain
  10. Thoughts of self-harm or suicide

My Postpartum Depression Story

My little girl came into the world exactly when she was due to. October 21, 2013. She came as if she was in a rush. Almost as if she had somewhere to be or something to do maybe. She was perfect. She didn`t ever cry, nor did she fuss. She was just a completely happy and content little princess. But I wasn`t over the moon for her. I had a two-year-old at the same time, which was beyond difficult. She was easy, and most times, it felt like she didn`t even need me really. I mean, of course, she needed me to feed her and change her, but she was just content on her own. It was like I had no purpose in her life.

But of course, I can see now that I did. I can see that this was where signs started showing. My husband was so good with her. Her eyes sparkled when he picked her up, and you could see how he overflowed with love for her. I felt nothing. Like as if I wasn`t even her Mom but rather a babysitter, maybe. Time went on.

I constantly felt so much guilt with her. I had tried to breastfeed because that`s what’s `best` for the baby, and it just didn`t work for us. So my journey is her mother began with what I had seen as a failure. Every time I looked at her, I so badly wanted to feel some connection, but I didn`t feel a connection to anybody at that point. It was her 6-month check-up when I heard the words `Post-Partum Depression.` I had existed through the 6 months, definitely taking care of her, she was healthy and thriving, but I was sinking and was lost.

She was my second baby, and I never knew about this. I wish I had thought. Maybe I could have been more aware and gotten help sooner so that it didn`t rob me of my little girl being a baby. Becoming a mother is not always as beautiful as the movie and TV make it out to be. It`s messy and hard. And for some of us, that bond, and that connection, didn`t just happen. I often think there is a lot of pressure about what being a mother needs to look like and what it looks like after you have the baby. Like as if you just now know what you are doing. It didn`t happen this way for me. Maybe I had depression during my pregnancy; I am not sure. Once I was diagnosed, I began to get regular help. I started recognizing how I was feeling and dealing with the guilt I had been feeling. Slowly, I began to establish my relationship being her mother. Slowly, I started to feel that connection.

If you are feeling anything like this, please know you are not alone, and nor are you a bad mother. The journey to becoming a mother has been a very rocky roller-coaster ride for me, and I feel is not something that came naturally to me. I think there is too much pressure out there for Moms to appear perfect. It`s okay not to be perfect. I received so many congratulations on my beautiful little girl, but no one saw me sinking deeper into my depression. So, I`m asking you, beautiful mama, how are you? Have you eaten today? Have you showered? Are you okay?

It`s okay not to be okay. It`s okay to talk about your feelings. It`s okay not to feel a connection immediately. It`s okay, whatever you are experiencing. It`s okay.

The Impact of Postpartum Depression on the Mother-Infant Bond

Postpartum depression (PPD) can significantly impact the mother-infant bond, which is a critical aspect of a baby’s development. Mothers with PPD may have difficulty bonding with their newborns, experiencing feelings of detachment, indifference, or even rejection towards their babies. This may reduce the frequency of positive interactions between mother and infant, such as eye contact, touch, and vocalizations, which are essential for developing emotional regulation, social skills, and cognitive abilities.

Infants of depressed mothers may also be at increased risk for developmental delays and behavior problems, including sleep, feeding, and attachment difficulties. They may have lower oxytocin levels, a hormone involved in bonding and stress regulation, and exhibit reduced brain activity in areas associated with emotion processing and social cognition.

impact of postpartum depression

The impact of postpartum depression on the mother-infant bond can also have long-term consequences. Children of mothers who experienced PPD may be more likely to have emotional and behavioral problems later in life, such as depression, anxiety, and ADHD.

However, it’s important to note that most mothers with PPD can recover and develop a strong and healthy bond with their babies with appropriate treatment and support. Treatment may involve psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of both and self-care strategies such as exercise, healthy eating, and social support. By addressing PPD early and effectively, mothers can improve their own well-being and create a positive environment for their child’s growth and development.



Love always, natasha


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  1. Ash

    I’m sorry you went though this, but I’m glad you shared this! We need to normalise post-partum depression because so many expecting mothers aren’t prepared for it!

    Ash |

  2. Helen Spencer

    Such a moving post, and a huge credit to you. I too suffered with PND but didn’t actual realised until around the 6 month mark too. The strength it must have taken to write this is out of this world. I am in awe. Thank you so much for sharing

    H x

  3. Suzie

    So glad you’re getting the help! xoxo

  4. Sarah

    This is such an important subject that should get so much more attention than it does.
    I can totally relate to all that you have written. PPD didn’t start until later for me and I wish others would have asked how I was… although I was in denial about it for quite a while.

  5. Jasmine

    I have PPD after my daughter was born in 2013 as well….im happy you are brave and strong enough to share your feelings so we know we’re not alone!

  6. Beth Gray

    I remember when little miss was about 5 weeks old, I felt I was getting a fever and all I wanted to do was crawl into bed and sleep. So, I did – as soon as I’d organised for someone to come take care of her. My house help was super concerned that this was depression — turned out I had gotten Dengue Fever (which felt like dying, although apparently I was in no danger of doing so!)…
    But I have a lot of respect for women who manage to keep going in spite of having no idea what is wrong with them.
    No one talks about it – you get a lot more support if you break a leg!

  7. Jenny in Neverland

    Amazing post and so brave of you to share this. I’m sure i’ll help lots of women in the same position x

  8. claudiarachel

    Amazing post. It’s hard to talk about but important

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