Most mothers can adjust both physically and mentally; however, for some, clinical symptoms of depression and anxiety may develop. Postpartum “baby blues” is more common and can occur in up to 80% of mothers and often resolves within a week of delivery. Postpartum depression occurs in about 10% to 20% of new mothers. Depression not only has adverse effects for the mother but for the baby as well. Unresolved depression and anxiety in moms can impact the baby and your maternal relationship.
- Bond with your baby. When you suffer from PPD, you may feel disconnected from your baby. Fostering your relationship with your baby will help you to overcome these feelings. Creating a secure attachment with your baby by tuning in to your baby’s needs. Soothing, providing reassurance, and holding your baby are just some ways to develop this bond. Playing, maintaining skin-to-skin contact, reading, singing, and talking are ways to create a secure attachment and empower you as a mother.
- Get sufficient and quality sleep. Although this may seem impossible, sleep is essential to recover and restore your physical and mental health. Ask your support system, such as your husband, to watch your newborn so that you can rest. You may need to nap during the day when someone else can care for your baby. You may consider hiring a night nanny if you have the financial means. Night nannies take care of your baby throughout the night so that you can get sleep.
- Eat nutritious meals. Given all that you do in a day, fixing a healthy meal may be of a lower priority; however, feeding your body nutritious foods will help give you the stamina and energy you need to function well. Try eating clean proteins, whole grains, and diverse fruits and vegetables. Stay away from fried, overly salty, sugary, and simple carbohydrates that induce inflammation and cause drastic fluctuations in your blood glucose levels.
- Practice mindfulness. Mindfulness refers to noticing your present state with an attitude of acceptance and non-judgment. This self-awareness allows you to notice what you’re thinking and feeling without getting caught up in these thoughts and feelings. You simply become mindful of your experience to acknowledge and accept your present state. With mindfulness, you are released from acting on your emotional dysregulation. You may start with a 5 minute meditation daily to develop mindfulness skills.
- Start exercising. Studies have shown that physical activity improves psychological well-being and reduces PPD symptoms. A group class may offer you the time you need and a sense of connection with others. Alternatively, you could try walking or jogging with your baby to increase physical activity. The added benefit of going outside and feeling the sun may help to improve your mood.
- Foster self-compassion. Self-compassion entails being kind and loving towards yourself, using mindfulness, and connecting with others. See if you can connect with all your worthiness and acknowledge your suffering. Self-compassion soothes our autonomic nervous system and generates empathy, connectedness, and calmness. Postpartum depression is nothing to be ashamed of. You can use this experience to learn, grow and be a better parent.
- Start therapy for PPD. Mothers should not face their depression alone. For the health of the mother and child, finding help is so important. Find a psychologist or counselor who specializes in pregnancy and postpartum depression treatment. In therapy, you will develop insight into what’s been bothering you, establish coping skills, learn new ways of parenting, and address any mental health issues, such as trauma.
- Contact your healthcare provider about finding resources and treatment. Psychiatric medication, such as antidepressants, may be an option to manage your mood. Your psychiatric provider can provide information on side effects and other medical treatments.
- Share your struggles. Use your family and friends to help you through this difficult time. Share your feelings and ask for their help. Don’t be shy to ask for help with cleaning, food preparation, or babysitting while you nap. If you are financially able, you may want to pay a babysitter to help you regularly. Try care.com or ask friends for resources.
- When you are in a crisis, get immediate help. If you have suicidal thoughts or thoughts about harming yourself or your baby, immediately contact someone who can help. Put your baby in a safe place and then seek assistance. Contact the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text 988, call 911, go to the Emergency Room, or contact your healthcare provider. Postpartum Support International offers many resources for mothers. You can join a support group or talk with someone on their hotline.
How Dr. Mazzei Can Help You
If you are suffering from postpartum depression, or if you would like to talk to someone more about how Dr. Mazzei can help you, follow these simple steps:
- Text today at (480) 448-6755 or email us for a consultation
- Or, you can book directly online with Dr. Mazzei
- Begin your journey towards a fulfilling and healthier life
Dr. Mazzei offers in-person treatment in Chandler, AZ, and online postpartum depression therapy for Arizona, Illinois, Tennessee, and PSYPACT residents.