5 Ways to Cope with Postpartum Depression
You waited in eager anticipation for nine months, and now your baby is finally here. The birth of your baby will bring about a multitude of emotions, but for many women, not all of these emotions are positive. Postpartum depression is a form of depression that can occur after childbirth, having an extremely negative and detrimental effect on a new mother. If you struggle with extreme sadness, anxiety, or worry for several weeks after giving birth, you are likely suffering from postpartum depression. Postpartum depression can be extremely damaging because it affects a woman’s ability to function and complete common tasks throughout the day, and for women who have a new baby to care for, dealing with this can be very difficult. The most important step you must take if you think that you are facing postpartum depression is to reach out to your doctor. Below, we will explain this and other ways you can cope with postpartum depression and get back to the happiness you felt when you held your baby for the first time.
Without treatment, postpartum depression can evolve into chronic depression. If you are experiencing strong feelings of sadness or hopelessness, loss of interest in activities, changes in eating and sleeping habits, increased tiredness, or other symptoms that make it difficult to get through the day for more than a few weeks after giving birth, it is crucial that you reach out to your doctor. They can talk to you about what you are experiencing and point you in the right direction in terms of treatment.
Make Time for Yourself
Becoming a mother brings about many new responsibilities. Some women facing postpartum depression experience feelings of stress and anxiety over newfound responsibilities, so it is important to establish some time that you can truly spend on yourself. Reach out to a family member willing to look after your baby for a little while, and treat yourself to a movie or some fresh air. Yoga and meditation are positive for mental health as well, and you will likely find that setting aside time for you will help relax both your body and mind.
Build a Strong Bond With Your Baby
Some women struggling with postpartum depression feel as if they lack a connection with their baby, so forming a strong bond can help fight these feelings. You should not feel bad if you don’t feel an instant attachment to your baby- this can take weeks or even months for some women. To begin forming this type of bond, you can try a few methods. Skin-to-skin contact can be relaxing and bonding for both you and your baby, and touch in general is beneficial for the bonding process. Talking to your baby often, in the form of reading a book, singing, or just talking to keep their attention, will provide them with sensory stimulation and give your mind something positive to focus on.
Physical activity is known to have positive effects on mental health, and this applies to women experiencing postpartum depression as well. Studies show that exercise is very valuable in treating postpartum depression, and something as simple as taking a short walk qualifies. Taking a walk with your baby in a stroller can even be a way to exercise and bond at the same time. If you can’t always get outside, an exercise video in the comfort of your own living room is a great way to squeeze some physical activity into your day.
Join a Support Network
One of the most important things to remember if you are experiencing postpartum depression is that you are not alone. Speaking with experienced mothers or other new mothers who are having a similar experience can help shift the way you think about your situation, and help you to remember that it will get better with time. Talk to your doctor about support groups in your area. Taking the chance to join this type of group will help you connect with others who have had similar experiences, and will help you avoid isolating yourself during this time.
Postpartum Depression Treatment Near You
Postpartum depression can be very difficult to deal with, because most women expect the birth of their baby to be followed by elation and joy. With the right treatment and coping methods, postpartum depression can be helped, and you will be back to enjoying every moment with your baby before you know it. At Women First Health Center, our care continues well past delivery. Our doctors will work with you to address and treat your postpartum depression and determine next steps, and we are devoted to supporting our patients throughout their lives. We also offer a variety of services focused on all areas of women’s health, including care throughout all stages of pregnancy and beyond. If you or your partner is experiencing the symptoms of postpartum depression, please do not hesitate to contact us today to request an appointment.