After you have a baby, you are going to go through so many emotions, often in a short period of time. You are going to love your baby more than you ever imagined only to be so angry when he or she won’t stop crying. Then, you may be so exhausted that you can’t wait until bedtime only to miss him or her the second that your baby is finally asleep.
Being emotional is normal after childbirth. It can take several weeks and months until your body adjusts to its new normal. However, if you are struggling to get through your day due to severe anxiety and depression, you may be dealing with postpartum depression, often shortened to PPD.
Though you may not want to admit it, there is nothing wrong with having postpartum depression. The truth is that up to one in seven new mothers suffers from postpartum depression.
Once you discover the fact that you have this disease, the better off you will be. Here are some tips to cope with postpartum depression.
Tips to Cope with Postpartum Depression
Seek medical attention. The best thing that you can do for postpartum depression is getting the help that you need. If you do have this disease, your doctor can diagnose you with it before coming up with a treatment plan.
The most common treatments include therapy and antidepressants. Many women start to feel better by combining therapy with antidepressants.
Get the help that you need around the house. Too many new mothers feel trapped in their home with their newborn. Often, their husbands are not able to take much time off to help them. They often feel like they need to do everything themselves. They are the ones who get up for every feeding throughout the night.
New mothers often worry about their home too. With visitors coming and going with barely any notice, they feel like they always need to be ready if someone should stop by.
However, you don’t have to do everything yourself! Your husband wanted to start a family with you so he should take some of the responsibility. When he comes home from work, give him the baby and go take a much-needed shower. If your mom offers to watch the baby so that you can go to the store, don’t be afraid to take her up on her offer. If your in-laws come for a visit and don’t mind playing with the baby, take a little nap while they are there. You deserve every break that you can get!
Get as much sleep as you can. Too many new mothers feel like they will never get caught up on their sleep. Though many babies do start to sleep through the night after a few months, others seem to continue to wake up at least one or two times every night. Some even sleep the day away which can be frustrating.
Many people will tell you to sleep whenever the baby sleeps. Though this may be hard to do, your health depends on getting enough sleep. Take a nap at least once a day with your baby if you are not getting any sleep at night. You deserve your rest.
Make sure that you are bonding with your new baby. Though you may think that you should have an instant bond with your baby, it doesn’t always happen that way, especially if you are suffering from postpartum depression. Though it may be overwhelming with all of your new responsibilities, you can always work on making sure that you have a strong bond.
It doesn’t take much. When your baby is really small, you should try to have skin-on-skin contact. This is the best way to build a good bond, though you can also talk and sing to your baby.
Try to incorporate exercise into your life. Nothing makes you feel better than some exercise and fresh air. If the weather is nice, put your baby in the stroller and take a walk around the block or even at the park. Even if you haven’t been cleared for exercise yet, walking can be one of the best medicines out there. Just a few minutes around the block can really make a difference.
Once your doctor tells you that you are ready to exercise, start out slowly and work up to your old exercises. Your body has been through many changes and it is going to take time to get back into shape. However, this is not an excuse to give up. Exercise is good for your body and your depression.
Make sure that you take time out for yourself. Though you are a mom, you are still you. Don’t let the fact that you had a baby change who you are. Too many lose their old identity and they feel bad if they do anything for themselves.
This can be a hard time and you may feel just as sensitive as your new baby. You deserve time to unwind and watch television or take a long hot bath. Go out to the movies with some of your friends. Even dinner with a good girlfriend can be great medicine!
Don’t forget about your partner. Becoming parents will change everything, though it shouldn’t. Many parents get so worried about the baby that they forget about each other.
You need to make sure that you take time to stay connected. Get a babysitter and go out to dinner. Don’t want to leave the house, that is fine. Just have dinner or cuddle on the couch after you put the baby to bed. Make sure that you spend time talking every day or you may feel like you are losing each other.
Get support. One of the best ways to feel better is by meeting other moms. If none of your friends are having babies, join a moms group where you can meet some other mothers who might be struggling through parenthood too. Just having another mother to talk to can be wonderful, especially when you hear them say something that you were going to!
Becoming a mother is never easy. Add in postpartum depression and it can be even harder. However, by seeking medical attention right away, you will be on your way to feeling much better!
Then, make sure that you find ways to take care of yourself too! Get as much sleep as you can and take advantage of any visitors that will let you. Run errands while they visit with your baby or even just walk around the block to clear your head. You will feel so much better.
If you need more support, considering speaking with one of our counselors to help you through this difficult time. There is a light at the end of the tunnel and we are prepared to help you see that.