7 Tips To Combat Postpartum Depression
Many new mothers often feel lost, isolated, and exhausted by the experience. If you begin to notice your mood sinking beyond what you consider normal, it’s important to take action.
Below are just a few ways you can combat postpartum depression.
Talk It Out
Your natural tendency may be to hide your feelings and pretend everything is okay; however, this is actually one of the worst things to do. You may feel as if you’re stronger by keeping your feelings to yourself, but you’re allowing your feelings to bottle up and likely become more severe.
It takes far more strength to share your feelings with those around you. By talking about your postpartum depression, and the negative feelings it brings to the table, with other people–particularly other moms–and your doctor, you’ll soon realize you’re not alone.
If you’re struggling to bond with your baby or find yourself experiencing dark thoughts and prefer not to talk with a friend, family, or doctor, another alternative is to speak with a therapist or other mental health professional. It’s important you try to talk to a counselor about your feelings. What you’re feeling is surprisingly common and it most-certainly does NOT mean you’re a bad mother.
Many new mothers get depressed because they feel they can’t meet up with friends any more. In all honesty, Postpartum depression thrives on the isolation many new moms fall victim to. I found it easier to go out and about the first 6-9 months or so when my boys were babies. The’re pretty easy to tote around at this age and don’t require a lot of entertaining. Take a bottle or two (or boob), a few diapers, etc. and take care of your baby just as you would at home.
While you may not be able to live the spontaneous life you once did, there’s no reason you can’t still see your friends. You can always meet up for coffee or lunch or maybe invite your friends over.
There’s also no reason why you can’t occasionally get someone to babysit your little one while you enjoy a few baby-free hours with your friends. By staying in contact with friends, you’ll feel less lonely and may start feeling like yourself again.
Speak with Other Moms
It can be very hard if you’re the only new mom you know. Try to make friends with other new moms so you’ll have someone to discuss the trials and uncertainties of parenthood with. Other moms are struggling with postpartum depression too. By having people around you who relate to your situation, you’ll feel less lonely. There are lots of places to meet new moms–try a mommy-and-me class or a support group in your community. You can also join Internet forums and Facebook groups where you can connect with other moms from around the world.
Ask for Help
Being a new parent is a juggling act, it’s essential to seek the help of others. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help. If you’ve got a partner, ensure that they are supporting you and helping you care for your little one.
In addition, don’t be afraid to reach out to friends and family. Take advantage of anyone that’s eager to babysit–even if it’s just for an hour or two, It might give you the opportunity to nap, do some housework, take a long shower, or a trip to the mall.
Even if the people around you aren’t able to babysit, they may be able to help out in other small ways such as cooking a meal for you or helping out with household chores. Obviously, you shouldn’t rely too much on others, but you certainly shouldn’t neglect their offers to help. You’ll probably notice, many of those offering to help are mothers who understand how stressful life can be with a new baby.
Take Advantage of Tools & Gadgets
There are so many tools and gadgets designed to make parenthood easier. Take advantage of them! Examples might include a crib with an adjustable height so you don’t have to bend down as much or rotating car seats to make getting your infant out of the car less of a challenge.
I’ve also included a few of the less-expensive items below.
You’ll also find many useful reviews of these products online. You may have to pay a little extra for these conveniences, but the money may be worth the reduced hassle.
You may be utterly exhausted from lack of sleep, but it’s important to stay active. A lack of activity may result in weight gain and can contribute to or worsen your depression. Our minds and bodies thrive on physical activity.
If you can’t find someone to babysit while you exercise, there are lots of ways to stay active with your little one. There are a whole range of exercises you can do with a baby. You might also simplify things by putting your baby in a stroller and enjoying a walk. Being outside while you exercise will provide you the added bonus of the vitamin D your body craves.
Establish a Routine
Having a baby is likely to have shaken up your routine. On top of sleeping when you can–which may be at random times throughout the day and night–you may find yourself no longer having meals at set times and essentially living around your baby’s unpredictable schedule.
You can still aim to follow your normal pre-baby schedule–with allowance for a little flexibility. It will, without question, require more planning and preparation on your part, but having a routine will create a sense of order so that your life feels a bit less overwhelming. After the first several months, you may then be able to set up a regular nap and feeding schedule for your little one, which will benefit all of you.
Establishing a new normal, remembering to take care of yourself, and finding support from others are just a few ways to help you combat postpartum depression. The most important, however, is seeking help from your doctor or mental health professional. There’s absolutely nothing to be ashamed of and it does NOT reflect on your ability to parent your child. It’s simply a ridiculously stressful time in your life exacerbated by a whirlwind of hormones and overwhelm.
Postpartum depression tends to be a temporary condition, although it can feel overwhelming and endless. For the sake of you, your baby, and your family–ask for help! 😊
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