You have just given birth and you thought that you would feel nothing but happiness and love for your baby. Unfortunately, it’s not quite like that. Many things change after having a baby, and it’s not always easy to deal with the stress and worries by yourself. That’s why many women feel the so called “baby blues” or postpartum depression. If you are one of those women, don’t be ashamed of what you feel, but rather ask for help instead. It is more dangerous to keep quiet about it, because it will not go away by itself. To begin with, you can try doing some of the things we suggest below for treating postpartum depression. If nothing works for you, you should consider seeing a doctor.
Don’t use all of your time to take care of your baby, but make sure to find the time to take care of yourself as well. Take a walk every day; especially if it’s sunny as it helps with depression.
Exercise regularly; exercises release natural chemicals like serotonin, dopamine and endorphins, which are beneficial for you when coping with postpartum depression.
Take enough rest and use your free time to sleep. Let somebody else do the house work for you. Find some time to see or at least talk to your friends. If you know some other new mums, talking to them will surely help you feel better.
It is very important to eat healthy food without allergens and artificial sugars. Remember to take more fruits and vegetables, lean meat and whole grains. Take more omega-3 fatty acids, whether through fish, eggs, or in a pill, since they are good for your brain. Make sure you get enough vitamins, especially B-12, B-6 and folic acid. Avoid caffeine and too much sugar, since they make postpartum depression worse. Also, avoid alcohol as much as you can.
If you must, take antidepressants, for example sertaline, fluvoxamine and verlafaxine, which are all very effective. Don’t forget to mention to your doctor in case you are still breasfeeding, so he can prescribe the right medication to you.
There is also an estrogen-replacement therapy which helps in rebalancing the body’s hormone levels, that drop dramatically after childbirth. However, this therapy can reduce the milk supply, and there is also the risk of developing dangerous blood clots in the legs and lungs.
In case you are against taking medications to treat postpartum depression while breastfeeding, you may consider getting involved in individual or group psychotherapy sessions, where you can talk about your feelings and emotions connected to the new parental role. The counselor will understand what you are going through and therapy will make it easier for you to set realistic goals for you and your partner. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to a specialist, you can try talking to your partner or anyone who is ready to listen and be there for you.
If you treat postpartum depression properly, it will go away within a few months. Sometimes postpartum depression lasts only a few weeks and goes away by itself, but sometimes it can be persistent and last up to a year. That’s why it is important to get some help in time. Also, you shouldn’t quit therapy as soon as you feel better, since postpartum depression can just come back. And again, don’t be ashamed of your feelings, you are not alone in this, many women go through the same state, and after some time passes, they forget all about it and enjoy their baby and their new mother role.