Postpartum depression: Tackle it better with these steps!
If you are a new mother and finding it difficult to understand your overwhelming emotions after having your baby, you are not alone. While your newest member is sure to bring a smile on your face with its cooing and babbling, uncoordinated throwing of arms and legs, turning over and every other milestone, the initial days of motherhood may appear too much to handle. You may feel moody or stressed about every detail around you, however, you have nothing to worry about. It is perfectly normal to feel so.
These countless emotions of sadness or depression, referred to as postpartum depression, may start interfering with your daily life and interrupt your willingness to bond with your baby due to the mood swings or difficulty in doing your daily chores due to the drop in hormone levels. Although it may start as simply stressful episodes of failing to understand your baby’s movements or activities, it can get worse if not addressed on time.
Tips to tackle postpartum depression
It is important that you should identify the symptoms of postpartum depression at the earliest to tackle them in the best way.
Following are some of the tips that may help:
1. Build an emotional bond with your baby. Forming a secured attachment with the baby will enable both the parents and the child to grow and bond beautifully, stay healthy and develop friendly relationships for life. Do not feel anxious if you have not bonded already. It may take time – weeks or months at times. Find ways to feel happier around your child, cuddle and try to identify the non-verbal cues. Practice skin to skin contact more, smile and sing to your baby.
2. It is important to take care of yourself along with the baby. Take frequent naps, get help from family and friends to look after the baby, step out in the sun for at least 10-15 mins and indulge in your “me time” without any guilt. Watch your favourite show, get back to your hobbies, etc.
3. Exercise. Staying physically active, exercising regularly can-do wonders to combat depression, more so in the case of post-partum depression. Start with mild exercise routine, after consulting your doctor. Even a 10-minute workout session can help you beat depression.
4. Eat healthy to help your body receive the adequate nutrients it needs to recover from child birth and maintaining overall health.
5. Increase your intake of omega 3 fatty acids. Have seafood (or flaxseeds if you are a vegetarian).
6. Examine your breastfeeding method. Choose the way you feel right and better. At times, you may feel agitated, sad or depressed if you are not able to feed your child. Check with your doctor if you feel any difficulties.
7. Do not isolate yourself. Seek help from family or friends, or join a support group. Talking about your feelings or sharing your woes with experienced mothers can always help.
8. Seek medical help if the emotions of depression do not go away within a couple of weeks. Share your thoughts and difficulties in dealing with the change in your life with an open mind.
Post-partum depression is different from experiencing “baby blues”. These are lingering emotions that tend to become worse with time, if left untreated. The chances of experiencing post-partum depression is higher in cases of women with family history or having gone through episodes of depressions earlier. Good antenatal care during pregnancy and intrapartum care during the delivery of the baby plays an important role in ensuring that the mother is in good health and prepared for the change in her life.
Dr Yasmin Imdad – Senior Consultant, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Kinder Women’s Hospital and Fertility Centre, Bengaluru