Depression makes us sad and fearful of having emotions, and we do not feel anything but sadness and lack of enjoyment in our daily lives. After having a baby, those feelings can also occur, and it is called Postpartum Depression (PPD.) Just like depression, symptoms might start after a triggering moment, and with PPD, it is after delivering your baby. PPD symptoms include moodiness (mood swings), difficulty connecting with your baby, and not being able to make proper decisions for yourself or your new family.
- Create time for yourself.
After having a child, you tend to be there with your baby as they need you for everything, but try to find that time when your partner, family, or friends are over to take a bath or run a quick errand. Allowing time for yourself to relax and do what you need to do is key to not allowing yourself to succumb to depression.
Exercise is probably the last thing you want to do after having a child, but remember how healthy it is for you and how much better you feel after doing some exercise. Exercise can even mean going for a walk, a quick 20-minute yoga session, or anything that allows your body to move and release negativity from your life.
Everyone always says “sleep when the baby sleeps” and that is true, but then you would also be sleeping a lot and not doing what you need to for yourself (especially for your family or if this is not your first child.) But remember that rest is important and allow others to take responsibilities too for the baby, so you can get some rest. Try to get a few hours of rest at night and allowing your partner or your parents to take over night-time feedings if they are around.
- Eat healthy.
When you are pregnant, you have cravings and tend to sometimes eat unhealthily because the triple scoop of ice cream is “what the baby wants,” but realize that you cannot always eat that much ice cream. Treat yourself, but also be cognizant of what you are eating and try to eat healthier. Women after having a baby are oftentimes trying to get back to their pre-baby weight and eating healthy can help you achieve those goals. Be mindful of what you are allowing into your body.
- Resist isolation.
When feeling depressed, PPD or not, depression makes us feel isolated and not want to be around others. Trying to be active, inviting friends and family over to visit the baby, and getting back into your routine is key for this moment and time. Join groups or outings with other mothers that have newborns like yourself. Allowing yourself to be around others can boost your mood and make you feel like you are not alone in what you are going through.
- Seek more intensive support.
Always seek support from a trained professional if you feel like you are becoming depressed after having a child. Seeking out talk therapy from a skilled individual to talk about what you are going through is beneficial. Your therapist might refer you to a psychiatrist for more extensive support. Remember you are not alone during this time, and there are people out there to help you!
If you feel like you are depressed after having a baby, feel free to contact any of our talented and skilled therapists at Symmetry Counseling to learn more about Postpartum Depression and how to help yourself.