5 PRACTICAL TIPS TO COPE WITH POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION
Count your blessings if you’ve never experienced postpartum depression.
Moms who have had postpartum depression fail to understand why and how the birth of their little darlings can inflict such massive sadness and weariness when you should be filled with joy.
It’s a fair description to say that postpartum depressive moms feel weighed down by a mountain of misery and gloom but have no idea why or who to turn to for help.
Well-meaning family and friends often advise rest and that the overwhelming sadness will pass.
But what if you don’t feel better with the passing time?
I am so pleased to have a guest post by Beth of madeyousmileback.com/. She has had personal experience with postpartum depression. Beth wants to ‘ give back’ to those of you who are suffering silently with PPD.
This post is for you if you’re in need of help with postpartum depression. Find out:
• What postpartum depression is
• Why PPD is not just the baby blues
• What the symptoms of PPD are
• How to heal from postpartum depression
The Beginners Guide to understanding Postpartum Depression
I’ll never forget the time in my life where I struggled what seemed like an eternity, for several months with postpartum depression.
At first, I thought I just had the expected normal ‘baby blues’.
And God bless him, I know my husband meant well. But one day after I went into my long dialogue of how sad I felt, he just waved his hands, and said emphatically, ‘Just snap out of it!’
I just burst in tears… “Don’t you think if I could ‘snap out of it’, I would?” If only it was that easy.
Here’s the thing, folks… postpartum depression is not a choice. And telling your loved ones to snap out of it is like telling someone who is deaf to listen harder. Click To Tweet They just don’t get it!
What is Postpartum Depression
Let’s clear up the most common misconception about postpartum depression.The ‘Baby Blues’ is NOT Postpartum Depression. Click To Tweet
The best way to explain ‘baby blues’ is to use a simple comparison.
The ‘baby blues’ is NOT anywhere near the more serious diagnosis of Postpartum Depression (aka PPD). It’s like comparing the flu to full-blown pneumonia.
The ‘baby blues’ is a common experience with mothers shortly after having birth. Most moms go through mood swings, periods of ‘sadness’, mild irritability and tearfulness. It usually begins two-three days after childbirth and rarely goes beyond two weeks.
Help if you’re suffering from the ‘ baby blues’
Think of your treatment options for the baby blues as you would the flu. You seek medical attention to avoid it progressing to bronchitis or pneumonia.
So, you seek immediate treatment for the baby blues so it does not escalate to the more serious PPD.
The Mayo Clinic states:
The baby blues usually fade on their own within a few days to one to two weeks. In the meantime:
- – Get as much rest as you can.
– Accept help from family and friends.
– Connect with other new moms.
– Create time to take care of yourself.
– Avoid alcohol and recreational drugs, which can make mood swings worse.
Symptoms of Postpartum Depression
- PPD can begin immediately after childbirth or anytime up to a full year postpartum.
What differentiates it from the common ‘baby blues’ is the recovery time.
Check out this educational YouTube video on the Baby Blues and the Symptoms of Postpartum Depression.
Severe cases of PPD can include paranoia, extreme anxiety and a disconnect from their own child.In extreme cases, Postpartum Depression can escalate into dangerous Postpartum Psychosis. Click To Tweet
PPD should not be taken lightly. If left untreated, both Postpartum Depression and/or Psychosis are considered the number one reason for suicide among mothers.
It is vital to educate yourself about PPD. So you can be in a position to not only help yourself but also recognize and help other loved ones who may be suffering alone.
PPD and Postpartum Psychosis are very real and is medically defined as a ‘maternal biological mental illness’.
According to the Mayo Clinic, PPD affects up to 25% of women. This is one in every four mothers. It is a complex disorder and affects both the mind and body.
You need to know if you have a pre-disposition to depression from your family history.
It is important to advise your personal OBGYN of this so that proper education and steps can be taken to minimize and/or be prepared for PPD in the event it becomes a reality after childbirth.
5 Effective Ways to Heal from Postpartum Depression
If you or a loved one are one of the 25% to be medically diagnosed with Postpartum Depression, then learning these healing suggestions will be most beneficial.
You need to know that PPD varies from one mother from the next. As a result, there is no one size that fits all.
That said, PPD is a serious medical condition and is not something you should attempt to treat without a proper doctor’s assessment.
Take heart if you find that you’re walking that terrible tightrope of PPD. There are things you can do to lighten the load.
Here are 5 simple tips to help you recover from PPD:
1. See Your Doctor
First, recognize and accept that you are depressed more than usual and make an immediate appointment with your primary care physician.
Your doctor will first assess how severe your condition is. He will take your family history into consideration.
In fact, don’t be surprised if they test you to see if you have a thyroid issue. This has been linked to being a marker for PPD (per Mayo Clinic).
Anti-depressants will more than likely be prescribed as well as Vitamin supplements, such as B-12 to increase energy and well-being.
2. See a Psychologist or Counselor
Another important factor in your healing from PPD is to seek counseling. Talk therapy to be precise.
There’s no shame in seeing a Psychologist or Psychiatrist in speeding your recovery time against the real struggle you’re going through.
I’m sure there are excellent male Psychologists. But, you must be your own ‘patient advocate’. For instance, I asked to see a female Psychologist who was a mother as well.
If you feel that you’re not being ‘heard’ then make an appointment to see a second doctor. Most insurance companies offer a second opinion in their policies.
Don’t overlook this step. It IS the most healing in my book. You will learn how to cope during this challenging time in your life.
You need tools to help you learn to de-stress. Sometimes, even family therapy is recommended to build strong supportive relationships with the ones you love. You need their unconditional support.
3. Focused Self-Care
Photos by Canva©
Self-care is a buzzword today but it is vital if you have PPD. What you need is focused self-care.
A good idea is to start a soothing morning routine that sets a good, calm peaceful tone to your day.
Find a few action steps to start your own morning routine here.
Sleep, diet, and exercise are vital tools to speed up your healing from PPD Click To Tweet. It goes without saying that you need your eight hours of sleep.
You need to include exercise (even if it is as simple as walking for 20 minutes. Try taking a yoga class or learn how to meditate to get you to your ‘happy place’.
Enjoy spending ‘quiet time’ with your baby.
4. Improve your diet
This is an absolute must to speed up your recovery from PPD.
Practice mindfulness with your diet in your fight against PPD. Include lots of fresh vegetables and fruit which boost your energy and therefore improve your health.
Stay away from highly processed food. I know it may be hard because it was for me… but try to eliminate all soda, especially diet soda. Trust me, you will be amazed at how better you feel being truly hydrated just drinking plain cold water or tea.
Start a special evening routine of self-care as well. Before bedtime, make it a ritual to have a soothing hot shower followed by a cup of hot green tea. It will help you get the recommended eight hours of sleep as well.
5. Join a Mothers’ Support Group
Get the support you need to help you run the household. Allow your husband or any family and/or friends to help out with the daily chores of cleaning and preparing meals.
It’s okay to take a ‘personal day off’ from time to time and let someone else take care of your baby. I’m sure there are plenty of grandmas, aunts, church friends, etc. who would jump at the chance to babysit. Remember, it takes a ‘village to raise a child’.
Another way to get additional and healthy support is by joining a neighborhood ‘mother’s group’. In fact, there are even some ‘new father support groups’ in some urban areas that can go a long way to getting the spousal support you may need during your recovery time.
For more info on this issue, read THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO LIFE WITH A CHRONIC ILLNESS.
A final point to remember…
Just because you feel better, doesn’t mean stop your medication!
I repeat, DO NOT stop your medication without your doctor’s supervision.”
Think of it as ‘preventative medicine’. Remember, you have a disease. A maternal mental type of illness. And just like someone with diabetes, you may need to stay on your meds.
Trust me, you don’t want to find yourself back down that black hole. It’s simply not worth it.
So, do yourself a favor, and listen to your doctor. He/she knows best whether to lower your dose or change as needed.
So, if you or you know of someone who may be facing the struggle of Postpartum Depression, now is the time to take action.
Let’s recap on the steps to take to ward off PPD:
- – Seek medical attention
– Go to counseling
– Improve your diet
– Practice self-care
– Find support
For further reading of this topic, please see the following resources:
• Mayo’s Clinic @ https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseasesconditions/postpartum-depression
• SAMHSA (Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration) @ https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline
Do you have an experience of postpartum depression to share? Please relate your story in the comments below.
Beth is the blogger behind madeyousmileback.com/.Mother of 3 beautiful vibrant daughters, she has been married to her Lebanese husband for 30 years. She is also a licensed Realtor in Dallas/Fort Worth. Her first book, “The Power of Unexpected Miracles” is due to be released sometime in February 2019. This is a true story based upon a series of divine intervention miracles in the birth of her third daughter in 1998. Get a peek at the book by reading the synopsis. Read her recent post Why can’t I just be happy to get to know Beth better.