Having a baby is supposed to be a wonderful and joyous occasion for parents, but the facts are that up to 50% of women can suffer from postpartum or post natal depression in the days and weeks after a child is born. In this post we will discuss some techniques that can help with postpartum depression. Baby blues are a common issue for women so please don’t feel alone. Many have and continue to suffer from post natal depression and we hope this post helps you or someone you know.
Help with Postpartum Depression
The best thing you can do if you have postpartum depression is to take care of yourself. The more you care for your mental and physical well-being, the better you’ll feel.
Simple lifestyle changes can go a long way towards helping you feel like yourself again.
- Don’t skimp on sleep. A full 8 hours may seem like an unattainable luxury when you’re dealing with a newborn, but poor sleep makes depression worse. Do what you can to get plenty of rest—from enlisting the help of your husband or family members to catching naps when you can.
- Set aside quality time for yourself to relax and take a break from your mom duties. Find small ways to pamper yourself, like taking a bubble bath, savoring a hot cup of tea, or lighting scented candles.
- Make meals a priority. When you’re depressed, nutrition often suffers. What you eat has an impact on mood, as well as the quality of your breast milk, so do your best to establish healthy eating habits.
- Get out in the sunshine. Sunlight lifts your mood, so try to get at least 10 to 15 minutes of sun per day.
- Ease back into exercise. Studies show that exercise may be just as effective as medication when it comes to treating depression, so the sooner you get back up and moving, the better. No need to overdo it. A 30-minute walk each day will work wonders.
Lean on others for help and support
- Make your relationships a priority. When you’re feeling depressed and vulnerable, it’s more important than ever to stay connected to family and friends—even if you’d rather be alone. Isolating yourself will only make your situation feel even bleaker, so make your adult relationships a priority. Let your loved ones know what you need and how you’d like to be supported.
- Don’t keep your feelings to yourself. In addition to the practical help your friends and family can provide, they can also serve as a much-needed emotional outlet. Share what you’re experiencing—the good, the bad, and the ugly—with at least one other person. It doesn’t matter who you talk to, so long as that person is willing to listen without judgment and offer reassurance and support.
- Join a group for new moms. Even if you have supportive friends, you may want to consider seeking out other women who are dealing with the same transition into motherhood. It’s very reassuring to hear that other mothers share your worries, insecurities, and feelings. Good places to meet new moms include support groups for new parents or organizations such as Mommy and Me. Ask your pediatrician for other resources in your neighborhood.
Coping tips for postpartum depression
- Find people who can help you with child care, housework, and errands so you can get some much needed rest.
- Make time for yourself every day, even if it’s only for 15 minutes. Do something relaxing or that makes you feel good about yourself.
- Keep a daily diary of your emotions and thoughts. This is a good way to let everything out and to keep track of your progress as you begin to feel better.
- Give yourself credit for the things you’re able to accomplish, even if you only get one thing done in a day. If you aren’t able to get anything done, don’t be hard on yourself.
- Give yourself permission to feel overwhelmed.
- Remember that no one expects you to be supermom.
- Be honest about how much you can do and ask others for help.
Source: American Academy of Family Physicians
If, despite the self-help and the support of your family, you’re still struggling with postpartum depression, you may want to consider seeking professional treatment. Postpartum depression responds to the same types of treatment as regular depression. Therapy, medication, and support groups can all be helpful.
- Individual therapy or marriage counseling – Therapy can be very effective in the treatment of postpartum depression. A good therapist can help you successfully deal with the adjustments of motherhood. If you are experiencing martial difficulties or are feeling unsupported at home, marriage counseling can be very beneficial.
- Hormone therapy – Estrogen replacement therapy sometimes helps with postpartum depression. Estrogen is often used in combination with an antidepressant. There are risks that go along with hormone therapy, so be sure to talk to your doctor about what is best—and safest—for you.
- Antidepressants – For severe cases of postpartum depression where you’re unable to care for herself or her baby, antidepressants may be an option. However, medication use should be accompanied by therapy, as well as close monitoring by a physician.
Helping someone with postpartum depression
If your loved one is experiencing postpartum depression, the best thing you can do is to offer support. Give her a break from her childcare duties, provide a listening ear, and be patient and understanding.
You also need to take care of yourself. Dealing with the needs of a new baby is hard for fathers as well as mothers. And if your significant other is depressed, you are dealing with two major stressors.
How to help your wife or partner
- Encourage her to talk about her feelings. Listen to her without judging her or offering solutions. Instead of trying to fix things, simply be there for her to lean on.
- Offer help around the house. Chip in with the housework and childcare responsibilities. Don’t wait for her to ask!
- Make sure she takes time for herself. Rest and relaxation are important. Encourage her to take breaks, hire a babysitter, or schedule some date nights.
- Be patient if she’s not ready for sex. Depression affects sex drive, so it may be awhile before she’s in the mood. Offer her physical affection, but don’t push is she’s not up for sex.
- Go for a walk with her. Getting exercise can make a big dent in depression, but it’s hard to get motivated when you’re feeling low. Help her by making walks a daily ritual for the two of you. read the full article here
Understanding Postpartum Depression
Postpartum depression is a serious ill and if you feel or think that you may be suffering make sure you contact and talk to others and get help with postpartum depression. Contact your doctor immediately and seek professional help.
Please share this post and educate others on the effects, and help that is available for post natal depression.