Postnatal depression is a type of depression that can affect women after they have a baby. Symptoms can include feeling sad, anxious, or overwhelmed, having problems sleeping or eating, and feeling guilty, hopeless, or worthless. Women with postnatal depression may also have thoughts about hurting themselves or their babies. Women who have had a history of being depressed before becoming pregnant are at greater risk for having postnatal depression. This is not a normal part of motherhood, and it doesn’t only happen to women in high-stress situations. It’s a medical condition that needs treatment.
Postnatal depression should be taken seriously as it affects both the mother and child. In some cases, it can even lead to suicide. If you or someone you know is suffering from postnatal depression, there are ways to get help.
1. Seek help from your healthcare provider.
Postnatal depression is diagnosed when the mother experiences feelings of sadness and many of the other symptoms for at least two weeks after childbirth. If you are feeling this way, it’s important to inform your healthcare provider so they can diagnose the problem and provide help. They may recommend medication and/or psychotherapy to help treat the condition but may also ask you to wait at least two weeks before treatment begins to see if your mood can improve on its own.
2. Ask your partner for support.
When a new mother experiences postnatal depression, she may withdraw from her relationship and close off to others. It’s important for the support system of the family to be there to uplift her and make her feel loved and wanted during this time. This might include doing some household chores, cooking dinner, taking care of the baby, or just being there to listen. The role of the partner is also crucial in making sure that the mother gets the rest and relaxation she needs. Make sure that you ask for help whenever you need it so that you can rest and minimize the effects of the condition on you and your baby.
3. Make time for yourself.
Postnatal depression can be overwhelming at times and it’s important that you make time for yourself every day. Whether it’s an hour of sleep, reading a book, or meeting up with friends for lunch—it’s important that you do something for yourself every day. Many women find that participating in prenatal yoga, meditation, or going on a walk can help improve their mood and outlook. Others take creative routes like availing of monthly craft subscription kits, writing a journal, and many more. The key is to find something that relaxes you while getting out of the house for a while. You should also try to eat healthy food and get enough sleep to reduce your risk of becoming depressed even further.
4. Join a support group.
Postnatal depression is often caused by bonding with the baby and the stress of taking care of the baby during the first couple months after birth, so meeting other mothers who are going through what you’re going through might be helpful. Support groups can give you advice on coping with postnatal depression while giving you the opportunity to connect with other women who are also coping with the same condition. You can talk about your fears and get feedback that may prove useful in dealing with your situation.
5. Educate yourself about postnatal depression.
One of the best ways to deal with postnatal depression is being aware of it and understanding what this condition is all about. Knowing its signs, symptoms, and risk factors will equip you with the knowledge you need in order to take action when necessary. It will also let you communicate more confidently with your healthcare provider about what you’re feeling.
6. Take care of your physical and mental health.
Taking care of your mental and physical health is important in dealing with postnatal depression. Pushing yourself too much in terms of physical activity and doing strenuous exercises may worsen your symptoms, so be careful about doing this. Make sure that you are living a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet, plenty of water, regular exercise, and enough sleep. On the other hand, your mental health is also very important and you should try to reduce the amount of stress in your life. Do this by prioritizing tasks and getting rid of unnecessary burdens so that you can focus on what matters most.
Postnatal depression is treatable and it’s important to take action before the condition worsens. The key to overcoming postnatal depression is by seeking help early on and educating yourself about the condition. If you or someone you know is suffering from postnatal depression, there are ways to get help.