By: Breannia Stillwell

Overcoming Postpartum Depression 

Having a baby can indeed be stressful and may lead to depression which is common in new mothers. No matter how excited you are about your new bundle of joy or how much love you have for your child you may feel mild depression and mood swings. This is caused by postpartum depression.

Signs and Symptoms

These are signs for postpartum depression and should be taken very seriously.

·       You might find yourself withdrawing from your partner or finding it difficult to bond with your baby.

·       Your anxiety may be out of control, preventing you from sleeping or eating appropriately.

·       You may have feelings of guilt or worthlessness or begin to develop thoughts preoccupied with death or even wish you were not alive.

Causes of Postpartum Depression

·       Hormonal changes: Women experience a huge drop in estrogen and progesterone hormone levels. Thyroid levels can also drop, which leads to fatigue and depression. These rapid changes may trigger postpartum depression.

·       Physical changes: Giving birth brings many physical changes. You may be experiencing physical pain from delivery or having trouble losing the baby weight, leaving you insecure about your physical appearance.

·       Stress: The stress of caring for a newborn can be a lot. New mothers are often sleep-deprived and may feel overwhelmed about their ability to properly care for their baby.

Coping with Postpartum Depression

–       Create a secure bond with your baby

    Emotional bonding between you and your child is the most important task of infancy. A secure attachment can be formed when you respond warmly and consistently to the baby’s physical and emotional needs. In essence, you and your child should strive to be in sync; you recognize and respond to each other’s emotional signals.

    Postpartum depression can make this bonding process difficult. Depressed mothers can be loving and attentive at times, but other times not as much. Learning to bond with your baby will not only benefit your child but you as well; your body will release endorphins that make you feel happier and more confident as a mom.

–        Ask for help

    It has been proven that positive social contact relieves stress faster and more efficiently than any other means of stress reduction.

    When feeling depressed and vulnerable it is important to stay in touch with family and friends even if you’d rather be alone. Isolation will only make your situation more difficult. Let your loved ones know what you need and how you’d like to be supported.

    Be sure to express your feelings. Your friends and family can serve as an emotional outlet. Do not be afraid to share the good and the bad with at least one trusted person, preferably face to face.

   Consider seeking out other women who are dealing with the same transition into motherhood. It can be very beneficial to talk to other women and hear their worries, insecurities, and feelings. You may share those same feelings and it will reassure you that you are not alone.

–       Take care of yourself

    Make yourself and baby the priority. Give yourself a break to fully concentrate on yourself and your child.

    Practice meditation, for research shows that meditation makes you feel calmer and more energized.

    Getting a full eight hours of sleep may be difficult with a newborn but do what you can to get plenty of rest. Use your support system to help you when needed so that you can catch naps when you can.