Postpartum Depression can really be a struggle for many new mom's. It's often not diagnosed because of the shame that comes from within the mom. Many times they don't get help because of the shame they feel. This week we want everyone to understand PPD and take away the shame so the mom's will get the proper treatment. Be sure and catch the previous 3 days blogs as well. We are working on an-acronym A.W.A.R.E.N.E.S.S.
Learning more about the difference between regular depression and PPD will help you feel more gracious to yourself. Even though there is no shame in having depression, people often feel it is a weakness (in themselves). Tie this to the shame of being a new mom that is "suppose" to feel bliss and mom's can really get down on themselves. If you research PPD or ask your doctor or therapist about it, you will understand what it is, why it happens, and how you can fight it. Many doctors can do PPD screenings to help you know if you have it. It's also important to have your spouse, family, and friends understand it as well. That way they can give needed support.
I know when you have a new baby it's easy to forget to eat. Unfortunately, this does not help the PPD. You're already tired and if you add hunger on top of that, you will feel a wide range of negative emotions. 3 meals a day is optimum to regain your health and strength back. Additionally, keep easy, nutritious things on hand for you to grab. Make it easy on yourself and realistic. You probably aren't going to chop up fruit for a fruit salad when the baby goes down at night. If finances allow, splurge and buy an already made one. Also eat things high in protein to give you the extra protein you need. Keep nuts, grains, protein bars, fruits and raw veggies on hand so you can just grab them. It's easy to grab a bag of chips and certainly okay to have a few but don't make it your "go to" or your actual meal.
I know......the thought of exercising after a baby sounds like an absolute dread. What if I told you 30 minutes of exercise can provide the same benefits to your brain as an antidepressant? Research actually shows this to be the case. You may be used to running marathons or maybe not used to exercising at all. The key is no matter what level......keep it simple. If you make it too hard on yourself you will be less likely to do it. A brisk walk with the stroller will help tremendously. How about a few minutes of Yoga to get your body stretched out and your mind clear? Exercise is probably the hardest thing to do and yet one of the most helpful. It will elevate your mood, reduce stress, raise your energy level, and get your body back to where you were before the baby. Additionally, it increases your self-esteem, something women struggle with after pregnancy.
Postpartum Depression can be very serious and also easily treatable. Please don't hesitate to get help. Tomorrow Joleen will finish our blog with 2 more ways to help. Thank you for reading this week.
Written by Natalie Chandler
Natalie Chandler, MA, LMHC, LCAC is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Natalie enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, and couples counseling. We also specialize in family counseling, child, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Westfield, and Zionsville.