Post-partum depression can creep up on new moms without them realizing it’s coming. Many moms don’t even know they have PPD until weeks after its onset! While a percentage of women will inevitably battle with post-partum depression after giving birth (and those who believe they are developing symptoms should absolutely talk to their doctor), there are certainly ways to avoid post-partum depression.
Understand that your mood swings from pregnancy will stick around for a while
This is normal. And it’s ok! Don’t expect yourself to immediately go back to your pre-pregnancy self. You’ll probably still cry over nothing and become easily frustrated for several months following the birth of your child. There’s nothing wrong with you and many moms experience even more dramatic mood swings after pregnancy than they did during. This is because of the immense volume of hormones that are released during the hours, days, and weeks following birth. Just because you’re experiencing mood swings doesn’t mean you have PPD.
Learn to accept your new body
If you’re having negative thoughts about your body, try to limit them. Be patient with yourself. No one gets their pre-pregnancy body back immediately after having a child. Not even Instagram models. When you find yourself wishing you looked different, find realistic pictures of other post-partum moms – chances are, they look similar to you! If you have stretch marks, don’t consider these to be negative things. You earned those stripes. If you are intent on working out once you’re cleared to do so by the doctor, channel this negative energy into creating a workout plan that’s ready to go. Working out is proven to trigger positive feelings.
Find support and communicate your feelings
Talk to friends and family members that you’re close to. Can you set up a weekly date for a close friend to come over and talk? If you have a spouse, make sure to share your feeling with them. If they haven’t been in your place before, they have no way of knowing how you feel. Communicate your needs to them and they will be able to help and support you to the best of their ability.
Accept help that’s offered to you
If a family member or close friend offers to cook for you, do the dishes, or watch the baby while you take a nap – try to say yes! It can be difficult for many people to accept help, but the newborn stage is especially difficult on moms who are exhausted and still recovering from birth. You absolutely deserve a break every now and then – accept the help. Chances are, it will make your family member or friend feel good that they were able to help you. A win-win.
Indulge in things that make you feel good
What do you love to do? Make time for those things if at all possible. If you do have people around you who can watch your child for small increments of time, take a bath, watch an episode of your favorite TV show, write in your journal, or sit outside for a while. Whatever it is that makes you feel comfortable and like yourself – do those things. If you don’t have someone to watch your baby, take advantage of small comforts. Light a candle with a pleasant smell. Make yourself some tea. Turn on some feel-good music. Chances are, you’ll feel a little better.