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Welcoming a little baby home is supposed to be one of the happiest occasions in a woman’s life. But for many new moms, the experience isn’t always so rosy. The days that follow childbirth can be filled with happy moments like watching your little munchkin yawn with his eyes closed, or snuggle as he gets cosy in your arms. But there will also be times where you will feel completely exhausted and want nothing more than to simply sit in one spot and do absolutely nothing because some days can be overwhelming.
You may have a hard time catching up on some much-needed sleep and may experience moments of confusion or helplessness. When these bleak and cloudy feelings last for more than a week or two, it could be an indication of postpartum depression.
According to a recent report published by the World Health Organisation (WHO), about 22% of Indian mothers suffer from postpartum depression. This depression, if put on the back burner or left untreated, can prevent you from being yourself and carrying out even the simplest of tasks.
The best way to tackle it is by visiting a trusted medical professional. They will try to understand your symptoms and draw up the best treatment plan for you. There are also some things you can do that work as great pick-me-ups when you are feeling low.
8 Things That Will Make You Feel Better When You Have Postpartum Depression
Being diagnosed with postpartum depression can put a cloud over what is actually supposed to be a delightful time. But it doesn’t have to. Here are some tips for managing postpartum depression and regaining your confidence!
1. Go Easy on Yourself
There’s no shame or guilt if you are feeling too low to enjoy this time with your little one. Postpartum depression is real and valid. Try and reach out to a loved one and make some time for yourself. That friend who had offered to help with babysitting? Pick up the phone, and reach out to them to take them up on their offer. Let your spouse or another trusted person take care of the baby for some time. Go easy for a bit, relax and unwind, and get some air.
2. Make Small Changes
Most little things that make a huge impact start with taking baby steps. Yes, your schedule is jam-packed, but how about a once a week head massage or spa? You might have forgotten how great hair days and pampered skin can make a woman feel like she can take on the world! So, indulge in a routine hair and skin-pampering sesh.
Pro tip: If you want to tackle two birds with one stone, Bio-Oil makes for a great daily skin oil, both for the body and face. It plumps out post-pregnancy skin to restore elasticity. In fact, a few drops of Bio-Oil can smoothen out all the fly-away hair and frizz too! Remember, baby steps with a huge impact!
3. Maintain a Healthy and Balanced Diet
Making it a habit of eating nutritious foods can give your body the nutrients you need and help you feel better. You can have healthy snacks like apple slices, chopped carrots, and cubed cheese that are easy to grab on the go. And, while you’re at it, don’t forget to indulge in your favourite treats once in a while, ZERO GUILT!
4. Exercise Whenever You Can
Exercising during pregnancy and after childbirth is an effective way to reduce the symptoms of postpartum depression. Walking with your baby in a stroller is a good way to get in some steps and breathe in the fresh air. You can even join online groups/exercise classes for new moms which are perfect for socialising too. If you can’t fit in an extensive exercise session in your day, fret not! Simply put on some music within the comfort of your home, and break into your signature dance moves. And if you’ve got two left feet, then even better! Your baby will be highly entertained with even your silliest dance moves!
5. Find Emotional Support
You may want to hide the intense feelings from everyone but reaching out to your loved ones, particularly your spouse is one of the best ways to begin healing. You could join a support group for new moms. You’ll probably find that most of them are going through (or have experienced) postpartum depression too. This is a great way to find people with shared interests, have access to tried and tested methods and find great professional help if you choose to.
Have you heard of journaling? If you haven’t tried your hand at it, you must start now! We can’t express how liberating it is to simply jot down whatever’s going on in your mind.
6. Make Time for the Things You Love
Take out some time to schedule some dedicated “me time” at least once a week. Use this time to unwind. Take a nap, go on a walk, do some yoga or meditation, go to a movie or treat yourself to a massage. Even just a simple daily self-massage will improve blood circulation and relax your tired muscles. Massaging your skin with a perfect post-pregnancy oil like Bio-Oil, will not just give your skin the TLC it needs, but also soothe and relax you. A few minutes of alone time will make a huge difference to how you take on each day.
7. Avoid Big Life Changes
We recommend not making any major life changes or decisions soon after giving birth. Further significant life changes in addition to the arrival of a new baby can cause unnecessary stress. Sometimes major changes are inevitable. But, when that happens, reach out for help and support to get you through them.
8. Treatment for Postpartum
If you feel your postpartum depression is not reducing or is simply getting worse, you can consult your doctor who may then prescribe medication or treatment. Private talk therapy or even group therapy sessions with other mothers who are going through the same experience as you, can be very effective when paired with medication.
When Should You Seek Professional Medical Treatment for Postpartum Depression?
As a new mother, please reach out for professional help if:
- The symptoms last for more than two weeks.
- You are feeling extremely scared, anxious, and panicked for most of the day.
- You’re unable to function normally or cope with everyday situations.
- You have thoughts of harming yourself or your baby.
Feeling depressed after your baby’s birth does not mean that you are a bad mother or your baby doesn’t love you. Your baby has nothing but love for you, no matter what! Remember – your friends and family are there for you. Do reach out to seek professional help — both for your health and your baby’s health. Most importantly, you should realise that you are stronger than you know, and everything is going to be okay. You’ve got this mamma!