How to Deal with Postpartum Depression
Postpartum depression is a mental condition that mothers get after giving birth. The illness presents itself as persistent sadness, extreme tiredness, and a lack of interest in caring for yourself and the baby. The condition typically begins 1 to 3 weeks after the baby is born and can become a severe form of depression without any intervention.
Contrary what some people believe, the mother is never at fault for having postpartum depression. Many women get depression after delivery. The leading cause of postpartum depression is hormonal changes after birth. Pregnancy hormones are at their peak during pregnancy. The hormones also affect your moods and emotional well-being. However, these hormones reduce drastically after delivery to their normal levels. The decrease can impact your mood negatively.
Although anybody can develop this condition after giving birth, the probability increases if:
You have had depression before, during pregnancy, or your close blood relatives have a history of depressive disorder.
You are a first-time mother - the responsibilities of motherhood may become overwhelming, and a lack of knowledge or preparation can become too much after birth.
You are carrying multiple pregnancies.
Lack of support from loved ones and other life experiences led to your child's birth.
You have thyroid issues.
You had diabetes before or during pregnancy.
You had pregnancy complications, leading to early birth, baby deformities, or pregnancy loss.
You are a survivor of intimate partner violence, or your pregnancy resulted from rape.
You are experiencing life's stress, like the death of a loved one or financial struggles.
You abuse substance
Postpartum depression is not the same as baby blues. It is much more severe. Baby blues develop 2 to 3 days after birth and can last up to two weeks. It is a consequence of hormonal changes. The mother becomes sad, cracky, and tearful for no apparent reason.
Signs of Postpartum Depression
The symptoms of post-natal depression should last for more than two weeks after birth. You should also have at least five symptoms for your counseling psychologist to diagnose it as postpartum depression. The signs include:
Emotionally, postpartum depression presents as
Persistent sadness most of the day
Feelings of guilt and shame
Constant worry and anxiety
Severe mood swings
Behavioral symptoms include
A lack of interest in doing anything
Physical and mental exhaustion
Eating too much or not eating at all
Extreme weight gain or loss
Sleeping too much or not sleeping at all
hurting yourself and the baby
Cognitive symptoms include
Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
Thinking about suicide
Managing Postpartum Depression
Postpartum depression needs immediate attention because it is a severe condition that affects the health of the mother and child.
Seek the Help of a Counseling Psychologist
Consult a psychologist if you suspect you could be having depression after giving birth. A therapist has the expertise, experience, and resources to diagnose and treat this mood disorder. You do not need to handle the burden of this illness alone. Talk to a therapist today.
A problem shared is a problem half-solved. Talk therapy enables you to talk out your issue with a professional trained to listen without judging. The counselor also guides you on how to sort out your feelings, thoughts, and stresses, which inform your behavior. The therapist can also include medication depending on your case.
Join a Support Group for Mothers
Sharing your life with mothers in similar situations enables you to see life from a different lens. You get to celebrate each other's milestones and learn from failures. Support groups help you to see you are human.
Nobody is expecting you to be a super mother. You can overcome your mental struggles by developing mental resilience from such support groups.
You will gain empathy for members and yourself.
You gain accountability partners to do life with even after the struggle is over
You also gain from their strength and resolve to keep fighting for your mental health
Ask for Help From Loved Ones
Never shy away from asking for help. You have just given birth and have depression. Chances are anything is burdensome for you at this point. Surround yourself with loved ones who can assist with the baby as you fight for your mental health.
Living with people who love you also helps you not to withdraw from society. Depression thrives in isolation. Therefore, have your trusted company around.
Aside from support, loved ones are also excellent accountability partners.
They will help you control the urge of indulging in destructive patterns like substance abuse or suicide attempts.
They will ensure you are eating healthy foods and taking your medication
They can call for help when things spiral out of control
They know you best and can tell when things are not okay
They will help you to focus on healing so you can be in shape to take care of your child
There is no need to rush into motherhood. Rest until your mind and body heal. Have a loved one look after the baby until you are ready. It is not your fault that sickness interfered with your responsibility as a mother. Focus on getting better.
Keep your mind off unnecessary worry. Learn to divert your thoughts from concerns that are beyond your ability to solve.
Learn to rationalize your thought process
Listen to uplifting music or content
Practice the art of meditation to gain peace of mind
As soon as your doctor okay's it, take walks, jog, and ride a bicycle. Exercise releases feel-good hormones that help you relax, increase contentment, and boost your happiness.
Reduce your responsibilities
Eat a Balanced Diet and Hydrate
The body finds nutrients from the foods you eat to maintain your mental and physical health. You can stabilize your hormone levels with proper nutrition before, during, and after birth. Therefore, stock up on your proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. They are essential in regulating your hormones and stabilizing your mood. Do not forget to drink water. Water provides the environment for the body to work its magic and keep you healthy.