How You Can Cope With Postpartum Depression
- By Abhinav
- May 22, 2021
Pregnancy and childbirth, according to many women, is one of the greatest joys of life. And despite all the joy and happy experiences, most new mothers go through a rollercoaster of emotions after childbirth.
Usually dismissed as simple mood swings, mention of depression is often shrugged off. But if your feelings of sadness start seeping into your daily life constantly and severely, you may be experiencing postpartum depression.
Am I suffering from postpartum depression?
Studies have shown that 1 in 5 women in India may experience postpartum depression in the first year after giving birth. That’s a whopping 22% of all new mothers.
A new mom goes through many changes in her body and mind after birth. Changes due to stress, fatigue, hormonal changes, mood swings, sleep deprivation are common. Breastfeeding and caring for your baby becomes the responsibility of the mother. While some women may feel happy about this change, some women may feel sad or fearful.
Gradually, this feeling should go away. It might just be baby blues but if it lasts more than a week or two, then you may be dealing with postpartum depression
Here are some common symptoms of postpartum depression:
- Withdrawal from your partner and an inability to bond with your baby
- Anxiety, sleepless nights, loss of appetite
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness
So it is important to not only acknowledge that you, as a mother, go through bouts of postpartum depression but also to learn how to treat it and cope with it. Don’t shy away from seeking the help you need.
Make sure to visit your doctor to properly be diagnosed and receive treatments, but there are things you can do at home to help you cope with everyday life.
Life hacks for coping with postpartum depression
1. Bond with your baby
- Skin-to-skin contact – Whether you’re breastfeeding or rocking your baby to sleep, try doing so while their bare skin is against yours. There are many benefits of skin-to-skin contact.
- Baby massage – Massaging your little one has been shown to decrease the severity of symptoms in mothers with postpartum depression.
- Sing to your baby – Not only does singing to your baby provide them with sensory stimulation, it will also distract you from any negative thoughts.
- Smile away – Hold your baby close to your face and smile at them! Once they’re 6 weeks of age, babies will give you their first real smile. And seeing your baby smiling back at you gives mothers a natural “high”.
2.Take care of yourself
- Eat right – Maintaining a healthy diet especially rich with omega-3 oils is a proven way to mitigate your postpartum depression
- Sleep right – Not only does maintaining a regular sleep schedule beneficial to your overall health, it will also chip away at your postpartum depression. Try napping during daytime, as well.
- Get out in the sun – Exposure to sunlight and fresh air will significantly improve your mood
- Exercise – This is obvious but regular exercise is known to help overcoming depression and anxiety. Even simple workouts like walking, jogging or yoga will do
- Keep busy with a hobby – Indulge in a hobby that will distract you from the monotony of daily routine. Things like reading, watching movies, a long bath, etc are also a great way to relax
3. Spend time with your partner
- Communicate with him – Childbirth often strains marriages so be open and communicate your feelings and challenges to your partner
- Spend quality time – Take some time out of your day to day motherly duties to spend some time with your partner. Have a dinner date, watch a movie, anything to bring a smile on your face
4. Build a support system
- Lean on family and close friends – Taking care of your baby all by yourself can be exhausting but you’re not in this alone. Seek help with your daily stuff from your close family and friends
- Emotional support – Just as you would speak to your partner about your emotional health, be open with your closest family members or friends. Seek their advice, have them listen to you.
- Join a support group – If there are any support groups of new mothers in your community or town or online, consider joining, as these women will be the most receptive to your plight
If at any time you feel like your symptoms are beginning to get severe, seek immediate medical help from your doctor. They will surely be able to give you the proper treatment. Postpartum depression is a temporary state and anyone can go back to feeling normal overtime.
Remember that motherhood is something every new mom will begin to get better at with time. So you don’t have to feel like you need to do everything all on your own. Get comfortable with being open about your emotional health. Treat yourself well.