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How to Cope with Postpartum Depression

how to cope with postpartum depression

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and postpartum depression is a topic close to our hearts. Even though new parents are incredibly happy when their little miracle arrives, the challenges of parenthood can be far too real.

It’s important for moms to remember that their bodies have just undergone an incredible transformation and life is far from ‘normal.’ (Seriously, you grew a tiny human!) However, if feelings of anxiety, sadness, or a lack of connection with your baby linger for more than two weeks, it could be postpartum depression. The good news? Postpartum depression is very common and absolutely treatable. And there's no shame in seeking help! Licensed counselors — like those at Behavioral Health Dallas — specialize in supporting first-time moms with their mental health. You and your baby can build a happy life together with their guidance, therapy, or medication.

What is Postpartum Depression

After giving birth, it's normal to experience temporary feelings of sadness, often called the "baby blues." But sometimes, these feelings linger and grow into something more – postpartum depression.

As you can imagine, this is a confusing and isolating time for fresh moms. Not only is your body undergoing major hormonal shifts leading to mood swings and fatigue, but sleep deprivation (common in those early newborn days) makes it even harder to cope.

The key difference between the blues and something more serious? Baby blues typically clear up within a week or so. However, postpartum depression usually lasts longer than two weeks and comes with a wave of additional symptoms.

These postpartum depression symptoms might include:

  • Anxiety or panic attacks

  • Feeling constantly alone

  • Crying more often than not

  • A lack of confidence in your parenting abilities

  • Difficulty eating, sleeping, or caring for your baby due to overwhelming sadness

The good news? You don't have to go through this alone! If your feelings persist longer than a week or two, your doctor can help you find treatment. 

Tips for Coping with Postpartum Depression

As postpartum specialists, here are some tips for coping with postpartum depression:

1. Carve Out Time for Self-Care

The first step to treating postpartum depression is making time for yourself – even if it's just a quick nap! Rest is crucial for healing, and fresh air works wonders. Additionally, don't forget to nourish yourself with healthy fats like omega-3s (found in salmon). And finally, don’t be afraid to enlist the help of your support system.

2. Bond With Baby

Next, we recommend talking to your baby, singing to them, and savoring those precious moments whenever you can. However, bonding isn't just about creating happy memories. It plays a vital role in a baby's brain development while triggering the release of feel-good chemicals for moms.

For example, skin-to-skin contact works wonders for both you and your baby. It promotes relaxation and bonding – leading to better sleep, alertness, weight gain, brain development, and (yes!) less crying.

3. Return to Exercise Gradually

Lastly, let's talk about fitness. While we know it might sound daunting right now, research shows that exercise significantly improves mood and energy levels. Instead of jumping back into your old workout routine, start slow with a gentle walk around the neighborhood. Even low-intensity exercises will improve sleep, relieve stress, and strengthen abdominal muscles – all great things for moms!

Newborn Care Expert Fort Worth

Sometimes, even the best coping mechanisms need a little backup. And even the strongest parents need support. Fortunately, the experts at Behavioral Health Dallas offer specialized counseling for moms navigating PPD. Don’t hesitate to reach out! 

And if you’re interested in other forms of postpartum support — breastfeeding help, soothing techniques, overnight care, etc. — our Nightingales are here for you. Contact us to get started.

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