Postnatal Depression

The Practical Guide to Postnatal Depression: How To Cope With PND

Postnatal depression, often called post-partum depression, is a common and serious condition that many new mothers experiences. It can be hard to understand and even harder to deal with, as it seems like no one understands what you’re going through and you feel like your family and friends don’t support you enough when you’re feeling down. The good news is that PND is very treatable and there are many resources available if you know where to look. Here’s everything you need to know about coping with PND:

What is postnatal depression?

Postnatal depression (also called postpartum depression, baby blues, or postnatal psychosis) is a severe form of depression that occurs in women during the first few months after giving birth. It can affect as many as one in eight new mothers and is not just a “mommy’s blues.” PND is a type of depressive disorder that causes intense feelings of sadness, emptiness, guilt, and restlessness.

You may feel like you have “nothing to look forward to” because everybody is happy and healthy and you’re feeling so inadequate and guilty about it all. Some new moms with depression experience feelings of guilt, shame, and self-blame. You may even feel like you failed as a mother, and that you’ll never be good enough. PND can be very isolating, as many women with PND feel ashamed or afraid to tell anyone they care about what they’re going through.

Get tips about getting rid of Parental Anxiety in the Toddler Years

PND and breastfeeding

Many women experience depression during the postpartum period, and breastfeeding is often cited as a possible trigger. However, the American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) stresses that there is no sound evidence that breastfeeding causes or increases the risk of depression. Depression is a very real and serious illness and there’s no reason to bottle-feed and feel guilty. That said, if you are depressed while breastfeeding, it can be very difficult to feel better. Breastfeeding can be an incredible source of comfort and relief for new moms who are feeling stressed, overwhelmed, and guilty. If you find that you can’t relax and enjoy it, you may want to explore ways to cope with your depression.

5 Steps You Can Take When You’re Feeling Depressed

Postnatal Depression
pregnancy depression
  • Talk to your doctor: If you’re feeling depressed, it’s important to talk to your doctor to figure out what’s going on and how best to manage it. A doctor can also recommend medications if necessary.
  • Seek support: Family and friends can often be key sources of support in times of crisis. However, you may also find support in local mental health organizations and community organizations like the Canadian Association for Infant Mental Health. If you don’t have family or friends nearby, online support groups can be a great way to connect with others who understand what you’re going through.
  • Take care of yourself: Make sure that you get enough sleep, eat a healthy diet, exercise, and get sunlight every day. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed during a period of intense change and uncertainty, and neglecting yourself can lead to even deeper feelings of guilt and failure.
  • Seek professional help: Most depressed new moms can be helped with proper treatment. Talk to your doctor about how to access treatment, and make sure that you follow through with your treatment.
  • Stay hopeful: It’s important to remind yourself that you are not alone, that you are doing everything you can, and that you will feel better.

Other ways to cope with PND

  • Talk to your partner about your feelings: Your partner might not be consciously aware of your feelings, but he/she will be touched by them in some way. Let him/her know that you need his/her support and help.
  • Accept that you’re not guilty: Let go of any guilt or shame you might have about yourself or your situation. You did not create other people’s happiness or health, and PND is not your fault.
  • Exercise: Many depressed new moms have trouble relaxing and unwinding, which can make it even harder to get through the day. Exercise can be a good way to release stress and feel better.
  • Talk to your kids: If you have young children, they might be better able to see the change in you than anyone else. Let them know that you need a little time to yourself and explain to them why you can’t spend as much time with them as you used to.

Signs of Postnatal Depression

  • Intense feelings of sadness, emptiness, guilt, and loneliness that last for weeks or months.
  • Feel like you have “nothing to look forward to” because everybody is happy and healthy and you feel so inadequate and guilty about it all.
  • Difficulty sleeping, or sleeping too much.
  • Feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or irritable.
  • Difficulty concentrating or remembering things.
  • Feeling “super-icky” all the time, like you can’t stop throwing up.

Conclusion

Postnatal depression is a serious condition that many new moms experience. It can be hard to understand and even harder to deal with, as it seems like no one understands what you’re going through and you feel like your family and friends don’t support you enough when you’re feeling down. The good news is that PND is very treatable and there are many resources available if you know where to look. Here’s everything you need to know about coping with PND.

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