How to Deal with Postpartum Depression?

A lot of women get the “baby blues,” a few days after childbirth. They feel sad and empty, without any rhyme or reason. Fortunately for many, the baby blues go away within a week or less. But if you still feel empty, hopeless or sad for more than 2 weeks, you may what is known as postpartum depression.

Postpartum depression is a mental illness that affects a woman’s behavior and health. It can interfere with your day-to-day life. You might feel a disconnect between you and your baby, or you may not feel any love for him or her at all.

What triggers postpartum depression? Experts say hormonal changes in the body trigger the symptoms associated with this mental illness. During pregnancy, your levels of estrogen and progesterone are at their peak. However the hormone levels drop back to normal just 24 hours after giving birth. This sudden drop in hormone levels may lead to depression.

Another type of hormone will experience a drop in levels after giving birth, and this is the thyroid hormone. It regulates the body’s ability to use and store energy. When thyroid hormones are low, it can cause depression symptoms.

Apart from the hormones, there are other factors that may contribute to postpartum depression.

  • Tiredness after labor
  • Lack of sleep
  • Overwhelming emotions
  • Self-doubt
  • Stress from work
  • Stress from house chores
  • Grief about loss of self-identity
  • Lack of free time
  • Feelings of unattractiveness
  • Loss of self-worth

Signs & Symptoms of Post-Partum Depression

Understandably, many mothers feel overwhelmed when a new baby arrives. This is quite normal. But if you experience any of these symptoms of depression for over 14 days, we highly advise you to talk to a medical practitioner for help.

  • Moodiness
  • Restlessness
  • Feeling sad
  • Feelings of Hopelessness
  • Frequent bouts of crying
  • Thoughts of hurting yourself
  • Thoughts of hurting your baby
  • Not wanting to see, care or be with your baby
  • Lack of energy
  • Lack of motivation
  • Eating too much
  • Eating too little
  • Sleeping too much
  • Sleeping too little
  • Inability to focus
  • Memory problems
  • Avoiding family and friends
  • Constant pain such as stomachaches and headaches

It’s important to talk to someone about what you’re experiencing. It’s not something to be embarrassed or ashamed about, and the sooner you are able to seek professional advice, the better it will be for you and the baby.

To help care for your mental wellbeing, there are also some things you can do at home, such as:

1. Exercising When You Can

Exercise can help ease depression in women. You can start by walking with your baby when the weather is nice. The cool breeze and fresh air will definitely help you feel better. And when you’re ready, you can always enroll in a gym and join an exercise class such as Zumba or Yoga. Lots of gyms such as Powerhouse offer group classes that are fun for all levels.

2. Maintain a Healthy Diet

Starting a habit of eating healthy foods will ensure you’re getting the nutrients you need. Having a new baby can make it quite tough to plan and prepare your meals but there are simple and easy to prepare meals you can make, and the key is planning ahead.

3. Have Time for Yourself

You may think this is easier said than done. After all, you’ll be with your little one almost 24/7. And he or she is sleeping, then you’ll need to do some chores. But think about how you can make time for yourself. Talk to your partner about taking turns in taking care of the baby, or perhaps you can ask help from your mom (or mother in-law) to babysit every once in a while.

Postpartum depression is a real thing. If you feel you are suffering from it, please make sure to seek help.

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