Postpartum depression affects 1 in 7 new moms and 1 in 10 dads. Unfortunately, many of these parents don’t speak up about their feelings and never receive treatment for this disorder. While regular “baby blues” go away on their own, postpartum depression is a more severe condition that requires medical treatment. If you’re living with PPD, here are some tips to help you cope at home.
Find a Support Group
One of the first things you can do to manage your PPD symptoms is to find a support group. Because this disorder is relatively common, chances are you can find other parents in your community who struggle with similar symptoms. While talking through your feelings won’t necessarily resolve the chemical imbalance in your brain, it can make things easier to bear. You’re not alone, and your feelings don’t make you a bad parent. By finding a support group, you can surround yourself with people who have experienced the same thing you have.
Along similar lines, you must seek help when you need it. Whether your postpartum depression stemmed from birth trauma or not, being a new parent isn’t easy. Every birth has circumstances surrounding it that make the following months exhausting, physically and mentally. If you’re in crisis, don’t hesitate to ask for help. Call a trusted friend or mental health service, or have someone watch your little one for a few days so you can recuperate. No matter how small a task may seem, asking for help can help you manage your symptoms and keep you and your baby healthy. By keeping supportive people around you, you can make coping with PPD easier.
Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
The second way to make managing PPD easier is by maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Depression of any sort is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, and postpartum depression is no different. While it may be triggered by traumatic events during birth, the end result is the same. By taking care of your physical needs, you can give your body all the tools it needs to correct what’s wrong and heal.
One such need that many new parents miss out on is sleep. Many people say new parents should “sleep when the baby sleeps.” Unfortunately, that can lead to worsening PPD symptoms because of insufficient rest. If you feel like you’re not sleeping enough, have someone watch your newborn so you can get high-quality rest. Taking a break from your baby so you can sleep doesn’t make you a bad parent; it’ll make you a better one. By maintaining a healthy lifestyle, you can mitigate some of your PPD symptoms.
Bond With Your Newborn
Finally, bonding with your newborn can help you manage your postpartum depression symptoms. When you bond with your baby, your brain releases oxytocin, and you experience the classic “warm and fuzzy” feeling. If you haven’t managed to connect with your little one yet, there’s nothing to be ashamed of. Deep bonds take time to form, but they’ll last a lifetime. Simple daily actions like holding your baby, singing to them, and skin-to-skin contact each encourage bonds between you and your newborn.
Along with regular contact with your baby, spending time with them outside can help both of you. If the weather is nice, a walk in the stroller can give you some much-needed time out of the house while exposing your child to fresh air and nature. Ultimately, time will build the strongest bonds, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t feel bonded to your baby all at once.
Overall, you should seek medical treatment for your PPD. While medication and therapy can help, these tips will make your daily life easier.