12 Tips for Battling Postpartum Depression
Guest Post by Charlie Alexander, creator of Living Tickled
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, and this article is not intended to diagnosis, or to be taken as medical advice. It is simply to inform. This is my experience, and any medical information is cited. If you have concerns, I highly recommend speaking with your doctor.
Postpartum depression can be scary, hard, and unpredictable.
It affects about 15% of postpartum women. (SOURCE) I have had postpartum depression with both my kids...and it just sucks.
It was the worst with my daughter, who was my first. I felt like all the hope was gone in the world.
Some of the common signs and symptoms of postpartum depression are:
Not being able to find joy in the things you used to
Feeling like you can’t bond with your baby, or don’t love your baby
Loss of appetite
Sadness and guilt are all you think about
You obsessively worry, particularly about being a good mom
You just “don’t care”
You have trouble sleeping or you sleep too much
You think about harming yourself
You cry all the time
For more information and support I would visit this website. It is a great resource.
With my postpartum depression, I felt ALL the feels! I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep, I was always crying and worrying, I hated life, and I hated my baby.
This was supposed to be one of the best experiences of my life, and it turned out to be one of my worst! The hardest part for me was not being able to bond with my baby.
I am here to tell you that it gets better.
There is hope. My daughter and I couldn’t be closer today. I love her with all my heart, and she is an amazing addition to our family.
I didn’t feel this way when she was an infant, and there were days I wanted to give up and run away.
It’s a hard, constant battle, and I feel you, mama.
But there are some things you can do to help it, and possibly overcome it.
These are things that I did to help overcome my depression and still implement today so that I don’t fall into old habits and find myself depressed.
12 Tips for battling postpartum depression
Knowledge is power. Postpartum depression (PPD) continues long after the baby blues have worn off.
A lot of people have heard of postpartum depression, but sometimes it can be hard to understand it until you’ve experienced it.
If you think you could be experiencing PPD, be aware of what the signs and symptoms are so you can get the proper help. There are several resources out there. Including:
Ask for Help
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Friends and family are more than willing to help, most of the time, so just ask. They could watch the baby for a few hours, so you can get out of the house, or take a shower. (It’s the little things)
Talk to a doctor
Even if you aren’t sure if you’re experiencing PPD, talk to your doctor. She/He can inform you and direct you.
Don’t be afraid or ashamed, they see it all the time.
Also, if you’re not getting the answers you want from your doctor, seek a second opinion.
Therapy and Medication
Don’t be afraid to ask about therapy or start medications.
I recommend starting with therapy and then possibly going on medication if it’s right for you. You can do therapy without meds, but don’t do meds without therapy. (According to Dr. Charlie).
Medication and therapy together are the ultimate combo.
Medication works to balance out the chemical levels, while the therapy helps you cope and create coping strategies.
You might just need coping strategies, but you also might need to balance out your hormone levels.
Remember that treating PPD is just like treating any other illness or injury. Get the help you need.
When my daughter was young, I saw a therapist who helped me get the motivation and courage I needed to seek help from family and friends, get on medication, and start feeling like myself again.
I was able to stop the medications, but I still attend therapy today to help with my anxiety.
Another thing to remember, if you struggle with taking medications, is that you don’t have to be on them forever. You do what works for you, and it can totally be a temporary thing.
Meet Other Moms
Get out and meet other people, especially moms. Play groups and support groups are great.
This can be hard because you probably won’t feel like it most of the time, but try to make yourself, or ask somebody to go with you.
Here are some groups and ways to find groups in your area:
MOPS - Moms of Preschoolers. They are in most areas in the US.
MEETUP - A great website that helps you find groups in your area.
FACEBOOK is another great way to find mom groups in your area.
You could also try to google “mom groups” in your area.
You can also go to any library, park, or play place to mingle with moms.
Proper self Care
Make sure you are getting proper sleep, when you can, and taking care of yourself.
Make make time for yourself everyday, even if it’s just a long shower.
Don’t lay in bed all day
Make yourself get up at the same time every day. If you can’t get up early, that’s okay, but try to set a time that works for you.
If you struggle with lying in bed “too late”, start by making yourself get up just 10 minutes earlier. Then slowly do 10 minutes again in a few days or a week. It’s okay to take baby steps.
You could also let yourself sleep in 1 day a week, which makes it easier to get up the other days.
Another good tip is to not feed the baby in bed after their morning feeding, that way your bed doesn’t call you to sleep.
(Disregard some of these tips if you have a newborn. I would say everything is free game for the first month. It’s a lot easier when they start sleeping more).
Light up the house
Don’t sit in the dark. Open as many windows as possible, and let in the natural light. Natural light can do wonders for your mental health.
Don’t’ stay in your pajamas all day, even if you don’t go anywhere. You feel better about yourself when you get ready for the day.
I mean, you don’t have to do full on makeup every day, but try to look as if you’d be okay leaving the house at a moment’s notice. In fact, getting dressed also helps motivate you to leave the house.
You could let yourself have a pajama day once a week, but don’t make it a habit.
Leave the House
Speaking of leaving the house, try to leave the house once a day, or at least every other day. You’ll feel happier.
Exercise releases happy endorphins, which…makes you happy.
Exercise is what saved my mental health with my daughter and so many times in my past when I had situational depression.
There is power in moving your body, making it stronger, and feeling healthier.
Also try eating a healthy diet. I’m not saying you have to go on a super strict diet, like no carbs, (that’s the worst kind of diet, I love my bread). Just try eating more vegetables, cut out some sugars, and drink lots of water. This is also good if you’re breastfeeding.
Remember that postpartum depression is hard, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you’re struggling.
Everything happens in baby steps, then strides. You will slowly start to feel more like yourself.
There is light at the end of the tunnel...natural light!
What was your postpartum experience like? Do you have any other tips to offer any mothers that may be going through a similar situation? Comment below.
Hello, my name is Charlie, I’m an anxious, somewhat organized, fun loving, Christian mom who’s passionate about helping new moms navigate pregnancy, postpartum, new mom life, and all the crazy hormones in between. I’m a mom, a crafter, a crier, a dark chocolate lover, and a GIF giver.