Every mother thinks that postpartum depression will never effect them. While the very thought of becoming a parent has been giving you joy and excitement over the past several months, now that your little bundle of joy has arrived, you could notice a completely different set of emotions within you. The joy and excitement you had as a mom-to-be might have turned into fear, sadness and anxiety now as a new mother.
Of course, you would have heard of or read about the term “baby blues”, which is basically the term used to describe the feelings mentioned above. If it is indeed baby blues that you are encountering, you will find it go away within a few days. However, if you notice those emotions continue, and you still feel empty, hopeless, sad, etc., even after two weeks, then there is every chance that you may have postpartum depression, or PPD.
Postpartum Depression: A Brief Overview
In simple words, postpartum depression is the depression you encounter after childbirth. It can be considered as a complication associated with giving birth, is very common, and can be treated. This condition involves the brain, and therefore has an adverse effect on both your physical and behavioral health.
When you have postpartum depression, the feelings of sadness and emptiness that you face will not go away easily. Thus, interrupting your everyday life, especially with that of your newborn. In fact, it can make you feel like you are not your baby’s mother, keeping you detached from your baby, and preventing you to love and care for your newborn.
Postpartum Depression Symptoms
In order to know for sure that you have postpartum depression, look for the following symptoms:
- Crying a lot, more than usual, for no proper reason.
- Feeling restless and crabby.
- Feeling sad, overwhelmed, helpless, and void.
- Worrying too much.
- Feeling angry most of the time.
- Sleeplessness (even when the baby is asleep) or oversleeping.
- Difficulty to concentrate and/or remember.
- Loss of appetite, leading to weight loss, or overeating and weight gain.
- Loss of interest in activities that you otherwise enjoy.
- Ignoring or staying away from people you love.
- Experiencing physical pains, such as muscle pain, headache, etc.
- Finding it difficult to connect with, love, and care for your baby.
- Thoughts of harming yourself and/or your baby.
- Skeptical about your ability as a mother.
How to Deal with Postpartum Depression?
Here is how you can cope with PPD:
Share Your Feelings
One of the symptoms of PPD is staying away from others. But, in order to deal with it, you need to stop isolating yourself and start talking to people you know and love. It doesn’t necessarily have to be any specific person; choose people you are comfortable sharing your feelings with. While some of you might prefer talking with your partner, others may want to talk to other experienced mothers, like your own mother, mother-in-law, sister, a friend, or even a colleague. No matter who you choose, make it a point to regularly share how you feel, because it can slowly reduce your depression levels. In addition to helping you cope with PPD, this practice also raises your self-esteem and gives you a feeling of independence.
Various researches have revealed that engaging in physical activities might help fight postpartum depression. Along with helping with your depression, exercising can also improve your energy levels, strengthen your abdominal muscles and help you sleep better as well.
If your pregnancy was healthy and you had a vaginal delivery with no complications whatsoever, then you should get a green signal from your gynecologist to start exercising a few days after delivery. However, if you had a C-section or complications during pregnancy and delivery, go with the timeframe recommended by your doctor.
Initially, you can start with walking, for 20 to 30 minutes a day. What’s even better would be to walk with your baby in the stroller. Choose a nice and peaceful place, like your neighborhood park, so you can get a breath of fresh air and nature, which can also help with your stress. After a while, when your schedule with your baby is all sorted out, you can join classes, such as Pilates, yoga, etc. to keep you going.
Bond with Your Baby
When you are affected with PPD, it can greatly influence your bonding with your baby, something that is extremely vital during the early months, impeding your ability to love and care for your little one. To prevent or alleviate this PPD symptom, start following a few practices to initiate bonding with your baby. This can be done in different ways:
- Practice skin-to-skin contact whenever you feed your baby, breastfeeding or otherwise. This provides a feeling of relaxation to you and your baby alike, also improving the bond you share. And of course, there are other pertinent benefits as well, such as better weight gain, reduced crying, good brain development, improved sleep, and more.
- Sing to your baby. You don’t have to be the best singer in the world, and your keys don’t necessarily have to fall in place. Just sing!
- Massaging your baby is another excellent way to develop your bond with him/her, proved by several studies as well. If you wish to learn the proper technique to this, you can always browse online, read a book, or even attend a class.
Care for Yourself
With a newborn baby depending on you completely, regardless of whether you are breastfeeding or formula feeding them, and with everything else you have to deal with, from household chores to elder kids, if any, you can feel easily overwhelmed and depressed. To not let PPD affect you, one more step you can take is by caring for yourself. Ask your partner to look after the baby for a couple hours and catch up on sleep. Also, accept help from a family member and go on a date night with your partner, get yourself a manicure and pedicure or a massage, or go out for lunch with your close bunch of friends and laugh away.
Remember, postpartum depression is absolutely treatable, and following these easy steps will get you closer to relieving yourself from the same.
Join our Facebook group and be a part of an amazing online community dedicated to motherhood!