How to Cope with Postnatal Depression

You’d think that coming home from the maternity ward with that sweet-smelling bundle in your arms would mean from now on everything is going to be sweetness and light. Unfortunately, for thousands of women, coming home after giving birth can be very stressful and emotional. Things are bound to be a little bit difficult as your body has gone through some amazing changes, you may have experienced traumatic labour and to top it all your life is never going to be the same again. Feeling low and exhausted are only natural, but it’s when these feelings continue for weeks and even months that you need to speak to your GP or health professional and get the right kind of treatment and support.

How You Might be Feeling

Talking to a professional about your feelings can be difficult. You’re a new parent, so you should be feeling on top of the world, right? Postnatal depression brings about a range of different feelings. You could be feeling pressure to be happy and excited, or that you have to be the world’s most perfect mum. You might be worried you’re a bad parent or that your baby will be taken away from you if you let people know how you’re really feeling. Asking for help is important, especially if you’ve slipped into using drugs or alcohol. You might need to consider drug rehab if this is the case.

How to Help Yourself Get Over Postnatal Depression

Postnatal depression happens to as many as one in seven new mums. Sadly, it is a condition that is often ignored or missed. Medication can be used, but there are many more things you can do yourself to help you manage the condition. For a start, you need to look after yourself, be compassionate to yourself and think what you would do if your best friend was feeling the same.

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You wouldn’t leave them to deal with it all on their own. Instead, you would offer support and understanding. When you first come home with your new addition to the family, it can be difficult to get the right amount of rest, and when you do drift off to sleep, that little bundle seems to wake up and require your attention. Rather than trying to stick to your normal sleeping pattern, sleep when your baby sleeps and forget about the dishes that need washing or the pile of ironing waiting in the corner.

Part of taking care of yourself has to include eating regularly and healthily. It’s even more important if you’re breastfeeding as you need to keep your energy levels up. A healthy balanced diet includes lots of fruit and vegetables.

Exercise is something else that is going to boost your mood. We’re not suggesting a marathon or hiking up a mountain. Swimming or regular walking improves motivation and boosts your mood. If you want to give your social life a boost at the same time, see if there are any mother and baby exercise classes nearby.  

Relaxing is something that will help banish those baby blues. It’s also important for you to find something you enjoy doing that doesn’t involve your baby.

Life with a new baby can be very different from the life you enjoyed just a few weeks ago. It doesn’t have to be as traumatic as you think if you take the time to look after yourself and embrace the changes.

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