The period of time immediately following the birth of your child can be a particularly emotional ine. You are likely to feel everything from joy, to fear, to aggression, to irritability, and that is all completely normal.
However, if certain feelings, such as sadness and despair, start to become so prominent that they begin to interfere with your everyday life, you may be experiencing postpartum depression (PPD).
According to the American Psychological Association, approximately one in seven women in the United States develop PPD following the birth of a child.
While the most effective way to treat PPD is by visiting your doctor, who can evaluate your symptoms and devise a treatment plan, there are also many things you can do to lessen its impact and help you cope with your everyday life.
Courtesy of TMS Center of Lehigh Valley, check out these five things you should avoid to help you cope with postpartum depression.
Overscheduling Your Life
The last thing a woman who just recently gave birth needs is more things to worry about. Time spent at home with your baby should be just that, time spent with your baby.
A spotless house, empty dishwasher, and clean laundry is not nearly as important as your first few weeks of bonding time with your child (and it isn;t as important as taking a relaxing break every now and then either).
In addition, five different mommy and me classes and a three course meal every night may not be necessary either. The more you give yourself to do, the more likely you’ll be to feel disappointed when you can’t do it perfectly. Remember, you can’t do it all, and you shouldn’t feel the need to either.
As normal and natural as it is to constantly evaluate whether you’re being a “good mom,” it can also be unwittingly contributing to PPD by convincing you that you aren’t.
Continually convincing yourself that you are a bad person and a worse mother is never a good thing. Not is it usually fundamentally untrue, it can also cause you to abandon all hope. This is not good for you or your baby.
Always combat negative thoughts about yourself by the good things about you that you and your loved ones know are true. These types of intrusive thoughts are part of the temporary disease of PPD, and they do not accurately affect you as a human being or as a mother.
While many of us have friends and loved ones who are supportive, unfortunately many of us also have the opposite.
It is important and helpful to avoid or limit your time with anyone who is blaming you for your condition or are unwilling to understand. In addition, you are also better off avoiding people who are judgmental and unwilling to support and respect your path to recovery.
To truly overcome PPD, it is better to have positive and supportive people on your side. Even if you can;t find them among friends and family, you can find them among the women who have experienced similar issues. For that reason, joining a support group in your area is a good idea.
The days, weeks, and months following childbirth can often blend together, making you feel isolated and alone at times. A recent study published in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry found that talking to others about your feelings can ultimately improve your mood.
In this study, researchers found that new mothers had lower levels of depression after regularly speaking with experienced mothers who had previously experienced PPD. These results extended to four weeks and then eight weeks after delivery.
This just goes to show that the power of healthy social interaction is undeniable. Always be sure to try your best to get out or at least chat with other adults and fellow moms for support.
Denial, Avoidance, and Procrastination
Multiple recent studies have shown that long-term denial and avoidance of mental health can result in further negative impact to both the physical and emotional health of a woman and her child.
For example, babies whose mothers have untreated depression during pregnancy are twice as likely to give birth prematurely, which can result in developmental delays and organ health concerns.
Simply put, there is just no good reason to “wait it out” if you are struggling with mental and emotional wellness, especially if you are pregnant or postpartum. Sometimes, the only way out is through.
While owning up to your mental health struggles can be frightening, it’s important to reach out to your doctor or other mental health professionals to let them know what’s going on. You’ll be thankful that you did.