Postpartum depression is a common occurrence among new mothers. According to studies, the dreaded baby blues can grow into a serious mental and emotional barrier that affects 1 in 7 women. Many women are shocked to find themselves a victim of this psychological disorder: they falsely assume that life will go right back to how it was before they had a baby.
The truth is, it can take a while to feel like your old self again; after all, something that was once a part of you is now gone. Dealing with this isn’t a walk in the park. This is especially true as your hormones attempt to rebalance themselves after birth. But the good news is, postpartum depression can be effectively managed and treated with the right steps. Here are five tips for dealing with postpartum depression effectively:
Change Your Diet
Your diet can have a significant impact on your health and mood. For instance, a diet rich with omega 3s (such as salmon) can help reduce the risk of postpartum depression early on. There are plenty of other foods that can assist your mission to fight your sadness. Greek yogurt offers a nutrient boost; organic eggs are chock full of Vitamin D and B—two vitamins whose deficiencies are linked to depression; and beans and lentils are packed with iron and protein that are good for maintaining a strong digestive system and regulating your blood sugar levels.
Talk to a Pediatrician
“Although pediatricians are often associated solely with the infant, the truth is, pediatricians, play a crucial role in acknowledging postpartum depression,” says Families First Pediatrics, a pediatric center in Utah. “Your pediatrician actively sees the mother-child dynamic and how behavior changes from pregnancy and is a reliable source for early intervention.”
A study published called “Detection of Postpartum Depressive Symptoms by Screening at Well-Child Visits” found that pediatricians were able to accurately assess early postpartum symptoms during office visits. With this in mind, it’s important to understand that you can turn to your pediatrician about these concerns and get the proper referrals, advice, and recommendations you need.
There are numerous studies that prove that exercise is an effective treatment towards multiple types of depression. Not only does it improve vital areas of your health, but it can also help you sleep better, relax easier, and improve your psychological well-being. After your body has healed from your pregnancy, start slowly introducing a regular workout routine into your daily life. There are also plenty of exercises you can do with your baby if you can’t get away. Busy moms looking for workout time shouldn’t feel pressured to go to the gym—many short at-home routines are just as helpful. Engage in activities that work best for you. You can also partake in activities that promote physical activity, like swimming, yoga, or dancing.
A support system is a great way to rid yourself of those feelings of loneliness—especially when you feel as though no one understands you. You can build a solid support system in a variety of ways. Of course, you might turn to your friends and family for candid conversation and a shoulder to lean on. You can also search for local Facebook groups, classes, and gatherings on Meetup.com to help find others who are in similar situations. And lastly, you can talk to a therapist whose professional experience could be just the motivation you need to take those tough next steps.
Balance Bonding & Breaks
There are two things that are crucial as you work through your postpartum depression: bonding with your baby and giving yourself a much-needed break. These may seem to contradict, but balance is what’s most important. First and foremost, building an emotional and physical bond with your baby can provide you both the connection you need. This early bonding will help your baby form better relationships later in life. Furthermore, close contact with your baby releases the body’s natural oxytocin hormone, which creates feelings of happiness.
Regular breaks allow you to give yourself a little self-care, which is key for overcoming the post-baby barriers. Start by asking family members and friends to take over baby duties for a few hours here and there. If you feel comfortable, hire a babysitter. And lastly, there are many local services and programs that offer childcare services for free or discounted prices, depending on your financial situation.