Giving birth to your child can bring about a wide array of emotions, including postpartum mood disorders. If you feel anxious and fearful and you’re worried this may affect your parenting, this article is perfect for you. You’ll find out how to deal with postpartum depression and how to practice postpartum depression self-care.
Believe it or not, one in seven women deal with postpartum depression. Although postpartum mood disorders can negatively affect the health of the mother and the baby, most women don’t speak up about symptoms and remain untreated.
That said, how to deal with postpartum depression? Below, you’ll find the top five most helpful tips on coping with postpartum mood disorders and beating depression. Read on.
What is Postpartum Depression?
Before finding the answer to “how to deal with postpartum depression,” it’s important to learn the basics of what postpartum mood disorders are. As mentioned, postpartum mood disorders are fairly common among mothers, yet one in five women remain untreated. Although the reason for keeping quiet about postpartum depression symptoms remains a mystery, it usually happens due to the stigma tied to feeling these emotions. Namely, a mother is “expected” to feel joyous and blissful due to this new chapter in her life. However, feeling anxious, stressed, severely moody, sad, and depressed is common and normal. Remember, your body is going through significant changes, and you have a newborn to take care of.
In order to understand postpartum mood disorders, it’s also essential to differentiate between the “baby blues” and postpartum depression. Typically, the baby blues tend to go away with time. Some common symptoms of baby blues include:
- Feeling overwhelmed and anxious
- Having trouble sleeping
- Appetite issues
- Reduced concentration
On the flip side, the symptoms of postpartum depression tend to be more severe and long-lasting. You may need professional help and guidance for beating depression. Here are some signs to look out for before seeking out postpartum depression help:
- Excessive crying spells
- Severe mood swings or depressed mood
- Difficulty bonding with the child
- Withdrawing from social situations (including with friends and family)
- Eating too little or too much
- Insomnia and other sleeping issues
- Loss of energy or overwhelming fatigue
- Reduced pleasure and interest in activities you previously enjoyed
- Intense anger and irritability
- Intense fear of being a “bad mother”
- Feeling restless
- Severe panic attacks and anxiety
- Wanting to harm yourself and your child
- Recurrent thoughts of suicide
Sadly, women who remain untreated for postpartum mood disorders may have recurring symptoms for multiple months. Therefore, always consult a healthcare professional if you notice any of the symptoms above.
Additionally, new fathers can also experience postpartum depression. These symptoms typically occur in men who become young fathers, have a previous history of depression, and struggle financially. Again, we recommend consulting your healthcare provider for further guidance.
Beating Depression: Top Five Tips
So, how to deal with postpartum depression? What are the postpartum depression self-care steps I need to take? Here are some excellent ways to treat postpartum mood disorders.
Have Skin-to-Skin Contact with Your Baby
One of the key tips for beating depression is getting to the root cause. In many cases, new mothers may find it challenging to bond with the baby—one of the best ways to bond it is to have skin-to-skin contact. Regardless of whether you formula-feed the child or breastfeed, you can try feeling their skin next to yours. Consider wrapping a blanket around the baby to keep them cozy or cradle them skin-to-skin.
Besides boosting the bond between mother and child, skin-to-skin contact can help sleep issues, alertness, weight gain, cold stress, and decreased crying.
Of course, if these tips aren’t working for you, it’s time to reach out for professional postpartum depression help.
Try Giving Your Baby a Massage
Postpartum depression self-care doesn’t always have to involve the mother’s needs. You can support the bonding process by giving your baby a “baby massage.” Massages provide skin-to-skin contact and promote closeness. However, make sure you learn how to properly massage your child by finding videos online or signing up for classes.
Consider Postpartum Depression Self-Care
Postpartum depression self-care is one of the best ways of beating depression. And the truth is, self-care isn’t selfish. By taking care of your health and wellness, you are also taking care of your baby. How? You can perform better and be more present for your child by feeling your best.
Consider the following forms of self-care:
- Have regular naps
- Eat omega-3 (such as oily fish and supplements)
- Get out in the sun (fresh air and sunshine are healing)
- Get plenty of exercise (or, if you prefer, light yoga and walks)
- Give yourself pamper treatments (do your hair, your makeup, go to a spa, take yourself to a fancy restaurant, take a bubble bath, listen to music, light scented candles, etc.).
Get Professional Postpartum Depression Help
Sometimes these tips don’t seem to work. If you have tried all of the self-help tips and made proper lifestyle changes, but nothing is working for you, it might be high time to consult a doctor. The professional can suggest you try psychotherapy, medication, or both.
Psychotherapy or talk therapy (or mental health counseling) is a way to discuss your feelings and concerns in a safe space. You’ll learn how to set manageable goals and respond to challenging situations.
Other times, you may require antidepressants (especially in severe cases or when the symptoms get worse). Your doctor will consider if you are breastfeeding.
According to researchers, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors such as Citalopram (can be found under the name Celexa) might positively affect symptoms of postpartum depression. Moreover, some researchers believe that face-to-face therapy sessions or online cognitive behavior therapy effectively treat symptoms. If you find that your symptoms of anxiety and stress are high during face-to-face therapy sessions, consider the online alternative.
Build a Support Network
We are social creatures, and we thrive off human interaction. So by building a network of supportive people, you’ll have more positive social interactions and support to reduce stress and anxiety in your life.
Many times, new mothers feel isolated and lonely. According to research, loneliness can lead to social isolation and feelings of “being disconnected” from other individuals. You may also think that you “don’t belong” and no one understands you.
Moreover, loneliness is linked with sleep issues, heart disease, high blood pressure, and decreased immunity.
By receiving emotional support from your network, you’ll learn how to cope with problems and gain more self-esteem.
Remember, you don’t need a large group of people to feel connected. Some mothers prefer friendship and mutual trust from a handful of individuals such as co-workers, other parents, or even neighbors.
One great way to build your network is to attend mommy and me classes and parenting groups. You can meet like-minded parents who are likely in the same situation as you.
Book an Appointment Today
Our team of professionals will help you identify symptoms of postpartum depression and get you on the path to recovery. If you are ready to become the best version of yourself for your family, give us a call now.