Millions of women are caught off guard by postpartum depression.
Maybe you were trying to get pregnant for a while, so the news of a new addition sent you and your partner into a state of excitement you didn’t know was possible. For almost a year you planned your life around the new baby. You decorated a room, picked out names, had a baby shower, and told everyone you know.
Then the baby arrives and you don’t know why you feel the way you do. Your emotions are all over the place, and you just cannot believe that you feel anything but pure joy.
Postpartum depression is said to affect about one in every eight mothers. It is a real, clinical form of depression and requires treatment and attention just like any other mental illness.
To help counteract the symptoms, try these five tips for battling postpartum depression:
Although you may not feel up to it, attempt to put yourself first. Carve out some time each day to be alone. Take a shower, read a book, sleep, make yourself a good meal, go for a walk, or just go sit at a park. Your baby needs you, but a healthy you.
- Human interaction.
After taking some time for yourself, focus on other people. Can you and your partner set up a date night every other week? Can the two of you take five minutes each day to talk and reconnect?
Spend time with friends and family members, too. Go shopping with a friend, or meet a sibling for coffee.
- Support groups.
There are many women experiencing the same thing right now. Listening to someone else’s version of postpartum depression and sharing your own can work wonders. Seek out a meeting in your area and give it a try. You may just meet that mommy friend you need.
One-on-one therapy can also help you discover where the depression is coming from, and how to take steps each week to heal. Try looking for a therapist who has worked with other postpartum moms, and maybe even a therapist who has kids herself.
Running may feel like the last thing you want to do, but engaging in just a bit of activity every day can help battle the symptoms of postpartum depression. You can try going for a walk around the neighborhood, or a local yoga class. You can even look up a guided yoga practice or a good light workout video online to do in your living room.
- Holistic approaches to healing.
Massage, acupuncture, and breathing techniques are great alternatives to try. Mind, body, and soul connection is important for mental health, so why not give something different a try? Find a local massage practitioner who works with pregnant women and new mothers, or an acupuncturist who can specifically treat various conditions.
Take the time to care for yourself so you can be a great mother to your new baby. It may take some time, but you will feel back to your old self soon enough!