How to Find Peace After Postpartum Depression
According to statistics, every year postpartum depression affects tens of millions of women worldwide. Becoming a mother, while going through so many hormonal and life changes, takes a lot of toll on a woman. While some women manage to cope with those changes better, others fail to do so and start feeling less capable of being a good mother. That's where the entire postpartum depression nightmare begins. It’s also important to mention that fathers can go through the same struggles as mothers, being affected by the baby blues and even depression. If you’re having trouble coping with the new role of being a parent and you think you're facing postpartum depression, here's how you can help yourself get better.
What is postpartum depression?
For years postpartum depression has been equalised with baby blues – feeling overwhelmed, overly sensitive, tearful for most of the time, and very emotionally fragile. However, the baby blues tend to fade away and completely disappear by the end of the second week postpartum. So, you must be wondering what is postpartum depression then? A prolonged state of baby blues with more severe symptoms that continue week after week postpartum is, in fact, postpartum depression. Irritability, insomnia, sadness, mood swings and constant crying episodes escalate into withdrawal from partner, suicidal thoughts combined with homicidal thoughts, anxiety, feeling inadequate and worthless. That’s when you’ll know that you have more to worry about than just baby blues.
Express your feelings
Coping with postpartum depression will be challenging, but if anyone can do it, you can. First, you’ll need to express yourself and share what’s on your mind. Don’t keep those thoughts and feelings bottled up because they will only contribute to your depression. Talk to your mother, sister, friend or other mums that you’ve met during your pregnancy. Don’t want to talk? Write a journal. It’s said that once we put our thoughts on paper, they become more real and help us realise the true weight of our feelings. Are your thoughts that heavy? Are they weighing you down so much that you cannot function properly? Find peace by writing down everything you feel and see whether you need more guidance and treatment afterwards.
Seek help from your partner
Confiding in your partner is another good suggestion. You’ve made a family together, so you’re both responsible for the well-being of each other and your newborn. If you’re both becoming parents for the first time, you’ll be going through very similar feelings, so why not share them and try to make each other feel better? Knowing that you’re not alone in your mental battle will offer the needed comfort and help you calm down.
Prioritise yourself more
When you hold your baby for the first time, they become the centre of your world. Feeding them, bathing them, soothing them and lulling them to sleep becomes your priority. Considering in the first month, all you'll be doing is finding time to take a nap between all that madness, it's no wonder you'll feel miserable. That's why you should make sure that you eat regularly too. Even if you're not hungry, you need to feed yourself because the baby needs your nutrients and your body and mind need them as well. Having your partner take care of the baby while you spend time on your own, away from the fussing and crying is essential for your mental health. Nobody should hold that against you, and you shouldn't feel guilty for wanting to be by yourself. Everybody needs some me time, and new mums even more so. Use every chance you have to rest and recover from the new mummy duties. Use the Me time to meditate and find your inner peace. Even getting a deck builder so you can spend your you moments soaking up the sun an getting fresh air would be a great help to your recovery. It will be invaluable for the upcoming period of overcoming postpartum depression.
Go back to workouts
Going back to your fitness routine can also help you find peace after postpartum depression. Did you enjoy jogging before you had the baby? Was yoga your favourite recreational activity? If your doctor approves, go back to moderate workouts when you’ve physically recovered from the labour. Depending on the type of labour you had, it can take six to nine weeks for your body to be up for light training. Mild jogging, fast walking, yoga, and Pilates will be good for your body and mind postpartum.
When none of the aforementioned advice works, you'll need to talk to a professional therapist. It's possible that you'll need medication to treat your depression, and it's always better to start treatment sooner rather than later. Talking to someone who is not a family member is more therapeutic. You'll possibly feel more comfortable confiding in a professional who is obliged to keep everything private than to talk to a friend or family member who might feel sorry for you or even judge you. Going to therapy will certainly bring you peace, so consider it strongly when you feel like your baby blues is taking much longer than anticipated.
Welcoming a baby into this world is a miracle that you should enjoy to the fullest. If at any point you feel like it's becoming a burden for you, it will be the first red flag that you're experiencing more than baby blues. When that happens, don't hesitate to ask for help and start working on your mental health improvement. Always find time for yourself and look for support from your loved ones. Eat regularly and try to sleep whenever you can to allow your body and mind to feel energised. Becoming a parent is a wonderful experience, and every person deserves to have happy memories of their first weeks as a parent.