You survived pregnancy and childbirth. Your baby’s strong and healthy. It’s time to celebrate, right? Not necessarily. Unfortunately, the time following the birth can be incredibly difficult for some mothers.
Not only do they need to adjust to being a mother, but fatigue and shifting hormones can lead to clinical depression, called Post-Partum depression.
What’s a mother to do about it? Read on to find out.
What Is Post-Partum Depression?
Depression is always difficult. It’s even more challenging when you’re depressed just after giving birth to your little one. It’s a time to bond and connect with your baby. It’s a time to embrace your new lifestyle with open arms.
But post-partum depression gets in the way for approximately 1 in 7 American women.
However, it’s nothing to be ashamed of, or to feel guilty about. Your body and mind are going through some huge shifts thanks to hormones, fatigue and just motherhood, in general.
Post-partum depression symptoms include insomnia, a loss of appetite, and bonding with your baby. You can feel irritable, anxious, angry, forgetful, afraid and hopeless. Repetitive and scary thoughts can run through your mind. These symptoms can go on for months.
Remove the Post-Partum Depression Stigma
No matter what your symptoms are, it’s important to remember that post-partum depression is never your fault!
Try to keep this in mind, even while society continues to stigmatize this overwhelming mental illness that many new mothers suffer with.
Unfortunately, it is grossly misunderstood by even the government and many medical care providers. They don’t always know how to handle post-partum depression, and insurance companies may not always cover treatment costs.
Women suffering from post-partum depression are often scared that they’ll harm their baby, and this keeps many from seeking help. They don’t want to be stigmatized, judged or labeled as an unfit and unstable mother. But help is exactly what you need in order to cope with and overcome this mental illness.
How to Cope With Post-Partum Depression (PPD)
Even though it’s very difficult for mothers with PPD to bond with their babies consistently, it’s crucial that they try to be loving to their little one.
This will help release endorphins in the woman’s brain, which in turn, will help lift her feelings of depression.
Spend Time with Supportive Friends
It’s true, you just had a baby, and you’re probably feeling tired, gross and depressed. You don’t want to be seen. You’d rather hide inside a lonely cave.
But try to surround yourself with loving and supportive friends right now. Talking and connecting with them, even about your depression, can help you dramatically. By bonding, sharing and expressing your feelings with other women, you can release serotonin.
Why is this important?
Serotonin is a hormone that naturally reduces stress in women. It can also lower feelings of depression. So, invite your girlfriends over, and make sure they bring some chocolate chip cookies, too.
It’s Okay to Get Help
With post-partum depression, it’s hard to feel interested or motivated to do anything. House cleaning, cooking, errands and appointments all look like one big anxiety-inducing duty. It’s even difficult wanting to take care of your own baby, let alone clean the bathrooms.
Some mothers beat themselves up over this because they feel like a failure. They feel inadequate because they’re not able to complete these responsibilities by themselves.
But if you have post-partum depression, you’re not a failure. You just need help right now. So, don’t be afraid to enlist your friends, family, and professional services to get the job done while you recover and take care of yourself.
Your Self-Care is a Priority
Your baby is important, and as a mother, you want to be there for her. But don’t neglect yourself in the process.
Take time for self-care, even if it means a bubble bath with your favorite essential oils. Or, a date with yourself while your husband watches the baby.
How to Prepare for Potential Post-Partum Depression
While shifting hormones contribute to PPD, there are other factors that may make some women more vulnerable than others.
History of Depression
If you or anyone else in your family has experienced depression before, or have a history of anxiety, you may be at risk for developing post-partum depression.
This doesn’t mean you’re doomed though. There are proactive steps you can take to prepare for PPD, too. Before the baby’s born, look into support groups, like PostPartum Support International and PostPartum Progress.
Take a little time to learn about their services. If you do end up with, you’ll know where to turn.
Are You a Perfectionist?
If you’re used to always having things go smoothly, efficiently and perfectly, then having a new baby will force you to let some things go. If you’re aware of this before the baby arrives, you can make arrangements to help ensure that things run smoothly even after birth.
Ask friends and family to prepare meals, clean, or help watch the baby so that you can sleep. You can also consider cleaning and grocery delivery services, too.
Book Outings in Advance
Getting out of your house, and taking care of yourself are usually the last things depressed mothers want to do. So, before the baby arrives, why not book appointments at your favorite spa or salon? It’s a way to commit and hold yourself accountable if the going gets tough.
Budget for dates with yourself and your partner. It could be as simple as reading your favorite book in a local cafe. You can also subscribe to monthly subscriptions so that you always have something to look forward to each month.
Get Placenta Pills
It might sound crazy, but some new moms keep their placenta and have it encapsulated into pills. It’s a safe and professional procedure.
Why do they do that?
The placenta contains many nutrients that can actually help prevent post-partum depression. Women continue to take part in this ancient and natural custom because it helps them feel better. Placenta pills can help increase the hormone oxytocin, as well as the stress-reducing hormone, CRH. It can help increase a mother’s milk supply and decrease levels of depression.
Post-partum depression hits many women and can disrupt what should be a joyful and exciting time. By taking these steps, you can help yourself cope with PPD naturally, and overcome it with the love and support of others.