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Coping with Postpartum Depression

coping with postpartum
You’ve just had a baby. You were expecting to look and feel like the celebrity moms that grace the covers of supermarket magazines—completely put together and blissfully serene. However, in reality, you feel that you are neither of these things. You don’t feel like yourself and you are having some feelings of moodiness or sadness.
Don’t worry just yet. You’ve recently had a baby after all! Your body has gone through a very stressful experience. In addition to your hormones being out of whack, your body worked really hard to bring a baby into the world and has some recovering to do. Generally what you are experiencing is normal, so normal in fact, the term “Baby Blues” is used to describe what you are feeling. You may feel this way beginning a few days following delivery and it can last up to a few weeks.
But what if the feelings don’t go away? What if they become more severe or they don’t dissipate after a few weeks? If this sounds like you, you may be suffering from postpartum depression. About 13% of all women suffer from postpartum depression. Even those celebrity moms you envied are not immune. Gwyneth Paltrow and Kendra Wilkinson have had postpartum depression. It is unknown why some women suffer from postpartum depression and others don’t. Some of the symptoms of postpartum depression include:
  • Lack of energy or motivation
  • Feeling depressed most of the day almost every day
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • You feel numb. You don’t feel anything and you don’t know why
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • A significant change in appetite
  • Sadness, irritability and mood swings
You may experience many of these symptoms or only a few. Postpartum depression is not just a “bad day”—this is a constant feeling.
To help ease postpartum depression try some of these ideas:
  • Do what you can to get plenty of rest. This may seem unrealistic with a newborn, so take advantage of opportunities to rest when the baby rests.
  • Eat healthy and eat regularly. Your body and mind both need fuel to function their best and restore health.
  • Take some time for yourself. This can be as simple as quiet meditation, to going out lo lunch with girlfriends. Whatever helps you to feel like yourself again. As a new mom it can be difficult not to feel selfish for taking time for yourself, but you need to take care of yourself so you can give to your baby. Taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of your baby.
  • Take some time for yourself. This can be as simple as quiet meditation, to going out lo lunch with girlfriends. Whatever helps you to feel like yourself again. As a new mom it can be difficult not to feel selfish for taking time for yourself, but you need to take care of yourself so you can give to your baby. Taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of your baby.
It is important to mention there is a much more serious problem that very few suffer from called postpartum psychosis. Postpartum psychosis is extremely rare but also extremely dangerous to both mother and child. This is considered a medical emergency and you should seek immediate help if you have any of these symptoms:
  • Thoughts of harming yourself
  • Thoughts of harming your baby
  • Confusion, delusion, or disorientation
  • Extreme mood swings
Remember that having postpartum depression is not a sign of weakness or bad parenting. You don’t need to feel ashamed or at fault. It can happen to anyone and is not something you can wish away with sheer grit. Getting help quickly can help you feel better sooner so you can enjoy your baby and being a new mom.