Postpartum depression is more common after pregnancy than is often discussed. Having a baby is a joyful but also scary time when we are faced with new responsibilities and new emotions. Our physical health is put to the test; late night feedings, little or no sleep, breastfeeding and even physical recovery after childbirth. Often our mental health is neglected; mood swings, feeling overwhelmed, and stress are normal as we adjust to life with a baby who is commonly referred to as the baby blues and will wear off within a few weeks.
However, sometimes these feelings don’t go away; Postpartum depression is a form of depression that occurs in the first few months after childbirth and can affect women to varying degrees. It is estimated that about 15% of women will experience symptoms of postpartum depression, and symptoms may include feelings of sadness, feeling overwhelmed, difficulty bonding with your baby, irritability, fears. of hurting your baby and feelings of hopelessness. Postpartum depression can be very scary, but don’t let shame and guilt stop you from getting help. It’s important to take care of yourself during this difficult time, and here are some suggestions:
Ask for help
You don’t have to suffer alone. Increase your support system by asking your friends and family for help, whether it’s help with housework (preparing meals, groceries, etc.) or watching the baby while you have a break. nap or take a shower. You might be able to ask a friend to call you daily to check in or plan a date out together. Again, we also suffer in silence which can exacerbate our symptoms, so ask for help or consult our support network for help. Make sure you talk to your partner about how you are feeling and come up with a plan on how best to support each other.
Increase personal care
Our mental and physical health are linked, so it is important that we take care of both after the baby is born. Avoid drugs and alcohol and make sure you eat a well balanced meal (ask your partner or family / friends for help). Exercise is great for improving our mood, so consider incorporating a daily walk into your routine. Caring for a baby is stressful enough, so be sure to always prioritize personal care (even if it’s only 15 minutes a day).
Seek professional assistance
Advice such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help women better manage their thought patterns that can perpetuate postpartum symptoms. Counseling provides you with a safe and confidential space to talk about your challenges and find realistic solutions to deal with them better. Medication is another option for managing symptoms and if you are interested please speak to your doctor.
The importance of asking for help cannot be overstated. Don’t let shame or guilt stop you from getting help; the risks are greater than not asking. If you have trouble thinking about harming your baby or harming yourself, please call COAST at 1-877-825-9011 or 911, or go to the nearest emergency room.
If you are interested in counseling and / or cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) make an appointment with our resident therapist. Psychotherapy and counseling services are available at Bronte Wellness Boutique.