You’ve just experienced one of the most beautiful moments in life, but for some reason, you’re not feeling quite yourself. As much as you know that having a baby and coming out of childbirth in good health is a blessing, you can’t help but shake these feelings of sadness and despair. You’re not alone. Millions of mothers go through a period of depression or sadness after giving birth to their child. Some, find it only lasts a little while, yet others have this feeling for weeks, months, and even years after their child was born.
Baby Blues or Postpartum Depression
As common as it is to feel a little blue, it is imperative to pay attention to the warning signs. Down feelings can easily turn into something more serious which causes many women to take matters into their own hands to feel better. Whether it’s abusing drugs and alcohol, avoiding others, or harming themselves or others, these are all risks to be on the lookout for. So, how can you tell if you or someone close to you is suffering from baby blues or postpartum depression? The lines are thin but here are some signs of depression to be aware of:
- Premenstrual syndrome symptoms – overly emotional, crying, weeping for no reason, easily irritated, moody, etc.
- Feelings of hopelessness or despair
- Isolation of people and social environments
- Loss of appetite
- Inability to sleep or sleeping too much
- Lack of concentration
- Feelings of disconnect
- Thoughts of suicide or harm to others
The main difference between postpartum depression and baby blues is the length of time you’re feeling this way. Baby blues tend to last about two weeks while postpartum depression lingers for months at a time. If you’re not paying attention to the signs these inner feelings could cause you to want to self-medicate by using drugs and alcohol to cope. This can quickly lead to addiction which is another condition that will need to be treated. If you’ve reached this point, it is imperative that you find a rehab facility where you can learn more about what triggers you to want to abuse substances and how you can stop.
What Can You Do?
If you notice several of the signs above you could be suffering from postpartum depression. There are a number of things you can do to try and deal with this mental illness.
- Eat right – lack of nutrition or enough nutrients and crucial vitamins in the body can contribute to your depressed state. When you’re not eating, you feel moodier and your energy levels drop. You should be eating a diet with complex carbs, limited sugar, lean proteins, fruits, and vegetables. Make sure you’re eating at least 3-5 times a day and drinking plenty of water to keep the system flushed.
- Get active – it may seem hard to want to get up and do anything but regular physical activity is great for improving your mental health. As you work up a sweat, your body releases chemicals to the brain known as endorphins and dopamine which are both ideal for improving mood.
- Get Support – Isolation may seem like the best way to deal with your emotions right now, but truth be told, your family and friends can be a great help. Let them know how you’ve been feeling lately and ask for their support. Whether they help with your parental responsibilities, listen to you, or work with you to find resolutions, it’s better than going it alone.
- Positive Thinking – Talking down on yourself or thinking the worst of every situation will only make your depression worse. It’s time to retrain your brain to think positively. Whether you’re worried about being a good mom or stressed about the strain it can have on your relationship, turn those thoughts around. “I’m a great mother.” “My husband and I are great partners and we will figure out how to make this all work.” “No one is perfect.”
- Seek Professional Help – If you’re suffering from depression and it’s been going on for several months you may need medical assistance in recovering. Talk with your doctor or if the problem is addiction and depression, you might enroll in rehab. If they can help macho men like the Rock with his depression, they can certainly help a supermom like you.
Having a baby is supposed to be one of the happiest moments of your life. If you don’t feel that way, please know that you’re not alone. Millions of women struggle with bad moods, hormonal changes, baby blues, and postpartum depression. If you’re going to win this fight first you’ll need to pay attention to the signs, try the above strategies for improvement, and if you don’t see any true change in a few weeks, seek professional help.