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Postpartum depression is a common state that affects 1 in 7 new moms. A week or two of so-called baby blues is a period followed by feelings of ambivalence toward motherhood, crying, mood swings, and mild depression. However, even though it’s normal for every woman to go through it, if feelings of anxiety, sadness, hopelessness, pessimism, guilt, worthlessness, fatigue and many other symptoms appear and stay for long, a woman may be going through postpartum depression, and needs to start coping with it.
Your little bundle of joy is finally brought to this world, but you don’t really feel like celebrating. Constant crying, weepiness, exhaustion, and anxiety follow you through the day, and it’s becoming really difficult to enjoy having your newborn baby around. Worry not, because this is the baby blues period. Mood swings followed by a mild depression and fatigue are all normal in the first two weeks after the delivery. Change in hormones, sleep deprivation, as well as stress and isolation may contribute to feeling overwhelmed.
How to recognize postpartum depression
While the baby blues shouldn’t last more than two weeks after you’ve given birth to your baby, some moms, however, continue to feel low even long after. Furthermore, the symptoms will escalate and aside from feeling sad, irritable, sleep deprived or overwhelmed, moms suffering from postpartum depression may also experience paranoid and irrational beliefs, suicidal thoughts, disorientation and confusion. The inability to sleep or eat could follow, as well as difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions and a new mom could even think about harming the baby. A few factors can increase the risk of postpartum depression, such as living alone, having limited social support, having a history of depression, and the age of the mother (the younger the woman the higher the risk).
Ways to cope with it
There are several ways in which a mother can cope with postpartum depression and the first one would be to bond with the baby. A secure emotional attachment with a newborn is essential for both mother’s emotional state and a child’s healthy development. Responding warmly and consistently to your child’s needs is vital for their emotional growth, so if you need help getting closer to the baby feel free to ask your partner for help. You may have them around if you feel insecure, and let them support you through it all. Go for a walk and put your newborn into a baby carrier instead of a stroller, to let the child be as close to you as possible, sensing your emotions, and connecting with you through scents and non-verbal gestures.
Furthermore, it’s essential that you take care of yourself as well. A new baby requires a lot of attention and care, so moms tend to lose perspective and neglect their own needs. So, avoid being a full-time housekeeper and ask your partner to help with the chores. Try to sleep as much as possible, make quality time for yourself whenever possible, and try to practice meditation.
Relationship with your partner is as important as the relationship with the baby, so try to connect to one another always, and communicate about everything. It’ll require some energy, effort and time to cope with the depression and build a healthy relationship inside the family, but it’s all necessary for going back on track and overcoming this emotional state.
The postpartum period can be challenging, but if you recognize the symptoms of postpartum depression in time and ask for help, you’ll soon feel much better and overcome this difficult period. Look for support in your partner, friends and family so you could recover fast and take care of your baby well. Make time for yourself, bond with the baby and you’ll go back to being a happy and joyful mom in no time.