Postpartum Depression: What It Is & How to Deal with It
Postpartum Depression ...
... occurs within one year of the birth of a child. Viewed as a complication of pregnancy, it is common among mothers, so if you're experiencing symptoms, you are not alone. What makes it so difficult to diagnose is that the symptoms are very much like what women experience during pregnancy: insomnia, tiredness, hypersensitivity and fluctuations in body weight. In this article, we'll talk about these symptoms, how you can alleviate them and when you should seek help.
Other symptoms of depression including sleeping too much or too little, loss of interest, motivation or pleasure in activities, sudden mood swings, a sense of restlessness, withdrawal from significant relationships, eating too much or too little, feeling guilty or worthless, experiencing frequent headaches, heart palpitations or chest pains and trouble focusing, remembering or making decisions.
Postpartum depression can be caused by many things including changes in hormones, the stress of giving birth to your first child, or having another child to care for or any other life event that is high on the list of psychosocial stressors, such as a move, the death of a loved one or the loss of a job. Those who have a history of substance abuse may also have a greater tendency to get depressed. Since depression has a genetic component, a family history of mental illness may make you more susceptible.
Aside from family history and big changes in your life, fluctuations in hormonal levels can lead to symptoms of depression. While pregnant, your levels of progesterone and estrogen are high, but within 24 hours after the birth of your child, those levels drop significantly. Researchers believe that is this hormonal crash may lead to postpartum depression.
Tips for Alleviating Postpartum Depression
- Give yourself the rest you need to restore hormonal functioning and to heal your body after pregnancy and birth. To assist the healing process, I recommend two natural supplements, Birth-Heal (which will sped up your recovery, promote internal healing and assist with healing after a vaginal birth or Caesarean, relieve aches and pains from labor and impart a sense of calm & relaxation) and NewMama Drops which balance hormonal levels and relieves swelling, tones and shrinks the uterus, prevents colic in your baby and promotes a general sense of well-being.
- Surround yourself with supportive friends and family. Let them help you with the baby, meals and housework, so you can avoid feeling overwhelmed.
- Nap when your baby naps. Getting extra rest is essential, especially if your baby keeps you up at night. You need proper rest to heal your body.
- Make time for exercise, even a brisk walk while pushing the baby in a stroller will do wonders. Regular exercise is a mood-lifter. Strenuous exercise releases endorphins in the brain which creates a natural high.
- Set reasonable expectations for yourself. You will not be able to do all you did before having your child. Let the housework go for awhile. You do not have to be perfect. Concentrate instead on creating a close relationship with your child.
- Understand that while you may feel that you have lost your identity as a woman, you'll get to find yourself as a mother. To help you with this process, I suggest you read my parenting book Keepers of the Children which will help you discover the joys and privileges of being a mother and help you create a lifelong closeness with your child.
- Talk with your spouse or partner and friends about your feelings. Or join or start a mother's group and talk with other mothers.
- If you have a pervasive sense of hopelessness, get help. Make an appointment with a trained therapist or medical professional. Medication and/or talk therapy can help you overcome postpartum depression. Be sure to ask about affects of medication if you are breast feeding. Seek help for yourself and for your child. Realize that your depression affects everyone in your family. Below is the best book I've ever read on depression:
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Postpartum Depression - Parenting
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