Even though you love your baby, taking care of it could be challenging. It is no surprise that newborn baby parents face difficulties such as restlessness. Because parents have new responsibilites and they can’t take time for themselves, they also experience emotional tenses which leads depression.
It is totally fine for parents to experience depressive mood. But if it doesn’t dissapear or gets worse it’s probably postpartrum depression. There are tons of things you can do to feel better during this period.
Is it just a phase or is it postpartum depression ?
You had a new baby you were expecting to be happy, you always dreamed of this moment and wanted to celebrate with your family. But now you want to cry instead.
Mild depression, anxiety and mood -changes are common in new mothers. After-birth stress, isolation, lack of sleep, hormonal changes can cause emotional breakdowns. It usually lasts 2 weeks peaks at some point but gets better afterwards.
What are the postpartum depression sypmtoms ?
The symptoms are suicidal thoughts, not being able to take care of the baby and more… You may want to move away from your spouse and your child. Also if your anxiety gets out of control you may even choose not sleeping well or eating healthy over a healthy life. You may feel guilty and worthless and forget about your self care.
What are the reasons and risk factors ?
Hormonal changes : After the birth woman experience hormonal changes. Low thyroid levels may be the reason for your fatigue and depression. These changes also include blood pressure changes, working of immune system and they may trigger after-birth depression as well.
Physcial changes: Giving birth comes with countless physical and emotional changes. Also the weights you gain, your body shape may be your insecurities after the birth.
Stress : Taking care of newborn babies are stressful. And mothers usually don’t sleep well. Because of the new responsibilites you may feel worried about your child. It’s really hard for new mothers.
Symptoms of Postpartum Psychosis
Postpartum psychosis occurs after the birth and characterized with the loss of contact with reality. Because of the risk of attempting suicide and serious problems with taking care of the child, sometimes it’s neccessery to stay in the hospital in order to keep mother and the child safe.
This psychosis usually occurs during the next two weeks after the birth. Symptoms include :
- Extreme anxiety
- Suicidal thoughts, attempts
- Rejecting food or sleep
- Thoughts of killing the baby
How to deal with it
Make bonds with your baby
Babies have special connection with their mother. However, postpartum deperssion may cause loses in the connection. Although depressive mothers may worry about their child more than others, they don’t spend healthy time with baby. So it’s really important to interract with the baby and make a bond with it. This will not only benefits your child but also makes you feel much better as a parent and an individual.
Get support and help from others
People are social: Positive social contact is faster and more effective in reducing stress. Historically and from an evolutionary point of view, new mothers receive help from their environment while taking care of themselves and their babies after birth. In today’s world, new mothers often feel lonely and tired at the point of contact with adults. Here are some ideas for connecting to others and getting support from them:
Be more social: When you feel depressed and vulnerable, it’s more important than ever to stay connected to your family and friends, even if you choose to be alone. Isolating yourself will make your situation even more cautious, so make your adult relationships a priority. Tell your loved ones what you need and how you want to be supported.
Don’t keep your feelings to yourself: In addition to the practical help your friends and family can provide, they can also serve as an emotional exit point needed. Share your experiences (good, bad and ugly) with at least one other person, preferably face to face. It doesn’t matter who you’re talking to as long as that person is willing to listen, assure and provide support without making a decision.
Become a participant: Even if you have supportive friends, you may want to talk to other mothers. It is reassuring to hear that other mothers share the same concerns, insecurity and feelings as you.
One of the best things you can do to alleviate or prevent postpartum depression is to take good care of yourself. The more you care for your mental and physical well-being, the better you will feel. Simple lifestyle changes help you feel like yourself.
Take a good care of yourself
Put the housework in the second place: Give priority to yourself and your baby. Allow yourself to concentrate on yourself and your baby.
Exercise: Studies show that exercise can be as effective as medication in the treatment of depression, so you should move. No need to overdo it: a 30-minute walk every day will be great! The streching exercises in yoga are particularly effective.
Practice attention meditation: Attention meditation makes you calm and more energetic. It can help you become aware of what you need and how you feel.
Sleep for eight hours while dealing with a newborn may seem like an unreachable luxury, but poor sleep makes depression worse. Persuade your husband or members of your family to help you sleep as much as possible and to have plenty of rest.
Take quality time to relax and take a break from maternity tasks: Find small ways to indulge yourself, such as taking a warm bath, drinking a hot cup of tea or lighting scented candles, getting a massage.
Eat healthy: When depressed, nutrition is interrupted. What you eat has an impact on the quality of breast milk, so do your best to build up your healthy eating habits.
Foods with proven benefits for depression
Since you are breastfeeding your baby, all of the depression medications can be risky and dangerous for you. For this reason, you can prefer natural foods.
There are several studies showing that turmeric is effective in reducing depression and anxiety. Turmeric can reduce your symptoms of anxiety, stress, and depression if taken in the right amounts.
Sunlight exposure: Sunlight is good, so try to get sunlight for at least 10-15 minutes a day.
How to help a mother with postpartum depression
- Encourage her to talk about herfeelings: Listen to her without judging or offering solutions. Instead of trying to fix everything, try to be there for her.
- Offer home help: Carry out household and childcare responsibilities. Most importantly, don’t expect her to ask for help.
- Make sure she spends time: Rest and relaxation are important. Encourage her to take a break, hire a babysitter, or schedule some nightly appointments.
- Be patient if you are not ready to have sex: Depression affects sexual performance. Give her physical love, but don’t force her to have sex.
- Go for a walk with her: Exercise can effect depression positively, try to walk with a daily ritual for the two of you.
Postpartum Depression Treatment
Despite self-help and support from your family, if you are still dealing with postpartum depression, you may want a professional treatment.
Individual therapy or marriage counseling: A good psychotherapist can help you successfully demonstrate your maternal behavior. Marriage counseling can be very helpful if you feel like you are not supported at home.
Antidepressants: In cases of postpartum depression, antidepressants may be an option if you are unable to function adequately for yourself or your baby. However, the drug should be closely monitored by a doctor. On the other hand, drug use is more effective with psychotherapy.
Hormone therapy: Estrogen therapy can sometimes help postpartum depression. Estrogen is usually used in combination with an antidepressant. There are risks that come with hormone therapy, so be sure to talk to your doctor about what is best and safest for you.