Postpartum depression is more common then we think, and with so many people coming forward and speaking out about their PPMD (Post Partum Mood Disorders), First and foremost, do not be ashamed or feel like a failure if you have signs of PPD. Many women experience baby blues, but at least 20% of those women experience more ongoing symptoms of depression₁.
Here are some ways you can help reduce your risk.
1. During the first 6 weeks of postpartum recovery, make sure you get lots of rest, that means no running around doing chores or going out for walks or running errands. Arrange someone to do the cooking and cleaning, so that you and your partner have bonding time with baby. If you have other kids, have someone come to entertain them, this can be a close friend, family member or a postpartum doula, for example.
2. Biggest rule to live by, SLEEP WHEN BABY SLEEPS. This is important because sleep deprivation is easy when you are a new parent and also increases chances of PPD. When you have a toddler or other older children to consider, try to arrange a nap around their nap or have them play quietly or watch a movie so you can have an hour or so of sleep. Better yet, invite someone over who can watch the older child for an hour or two while you sleep.
3. Don’t expect to do everything yourself. Becoming a mother for the first time is already a huge life transition that requires an adjustment period, during this time, ask and accept help from everyone. Look for people in your life who can help you with the little things, and sometimes the big things.
a. Ask someone to watch the baby so you can shower.
b. Order food when you don’t feel like cooking.
c. Ask someone else to do the laundry, vacuuming, etc., so you can get some rest.
d. Watch the baby so I can go out for an hour; even if it’s just for a walk or drive.
4. Join a mom’s support group, whether its PPD related or not. Joining a group just helps you stay social and allows you to meet new parents. Join yoga, or a mom walk/stroller work out. Go to local EarlyOn Child Centres to meet other moms. Make connections. Stay connected.
5. Arrange social visits with family and friends every so often, but only after your 6 weeks recovery. Doesn’t have to be super often, but even once a week or so, just to keep in touch with everyone. Staying home or isolating yourself also increases the chances of PPD.
6. Find people in your life who you can trust and talk to about any stresses that arise since having a baby; these should be people you know will support you and not give negative comments. Being able to talk to a number of people is a great way to keep the stress levels down and PPD in check. And again, ASKING FOR HELP is key, when you feel you need it.
It’s important to know that every mom will go through many moments of ups and downs and days when you feel great and days when you don’t. These are all normal experiences. However, if you feel like maybe you have more bad days then good and you suspect you have PPD, talk to your partner, your caregiver, or someone you trust. Starting the conversation with someone about what’s going on, lets you see that you aren’t alone, and is one step closer to getting better.
Resources for PPD support:
₁ Statistic source from www.muskokapostpartumsupport.com