22 Tips for Coping with Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression is a type of clinical depression that can occur up to 12 months after childbirth . It can trigger feelings of worthlessness and persistent fatigue. However, there are numerous coping tips available to help you feel more like your old self.
Postpartum depression is a type of clinical depression that can occur up to 12 months after childbirth . It can trigger feelings of worthlessness and persistent fatigue. However, there are numerous coping tips available to help you feel more like your old self.

Are you a new mother struggling with postpartum depression? You're not alone. It is estimated that 1 in 7 women experience postpartum depression (PPD) in the first year after having a baby.

While PPD can be a difficult and overwhelming condition to deal with, there are things you can do to ease your symptoms and start feeling like yourself again.

Today we look closer at PPD, and 22 tips you can use to cope with this condition.

What is Postpartum Depression?

Postpartum depression is a form of clinical depression that can occur after childbirth. It is more common than you might think, affecting up to 1 in 7 women in Australia.

While the baby blues typically resolve within a couple of weeks, PPD can last much longer and have a significant impact on your ability to function day-to-day.

Symptoms of Postpartum Depression

  • Feeling sad, hopeless or worthless
  • Loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy
  • Withdraw from friends and family
  • Difficulty bonding with your baby
  • Feeling overwhelmed or unable to cope
  • Difficulty sleeping, even when your baby is sleeping
  • Changes in appetite
  • Persistent fatigue
  • Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
Women can develop postpartum depression (PPD) for a number of reasons, including hormonal changes, sleep deprivation, and the societal expectations placed on new mothers. This can make new mothers lose their sense of identity.
Women can develop postpartum depression (PPD) for a number of reasons, including hormonal changes, sleep deprivation, and the societal expectations placed on new mothers. This can make new mothers lose their sense of identity.

Tips for Coping with Postpartum Depression

  1. Talk to your doctor or a mental health professional. Don't suffer all on your own. See your doctor as soon as you start feeling depressed, so they can assess your symptoms and recommend treatment. If you're reluctant to see a doctor, consider talking to a mental health professional, such as a counsellor or psychologist.
  2. Join a support group. There are many groups out there for mothers with PPD. Joining one can help you feel less alone and provide you with valuable tips and information from other women who are going through the same thing.
  3. Get some exercise. Exercise releases endorphins, which have mood-boosting effects. A moderate amount of exercise is the key – too much or too little can actually make your depression worse.
  4. Spend time outside every day. Being in nature has been shown to improve mood and reduce stress levels. Even if it's just for a few minutes, make sure to get some fresh air every day.
  5. Eat a healthy diet. Eating nutritious foods will help to improve your energy levels and mood. Avoid processed and sugary foods, which can make depression symptoms worse.
  6. Get enough sleep. When you're exhausted, it's harder to cope with stress and manage your emotions. Make sure to get seven to eight hours of sleep each night.
  7. Take some time for yourself. Being a mother is demanding, so it's important to schedule some time each week that's just for you. Whether it's getting a manicure, going for a walk, or reading your favourite book, taking some time out for yourself will help you recharge and be a better parent.
  8. Connect with other adults. Spending time with friends and family can help to improve your mood and give you a much-needed break from parenting. If you don't have many close friends or family members, consider joining a mums' group or taking a class where you can meet other adults.
  9. Talk about your feelings. Bottling up your emotions will only make them worse. Talk to your partner, a friend, or a therapist about how you're feeling – it will help you to feel better and might even provide some helpful insights.
  10. Seek professional help if your symptoms are severe. If your depression is impacting your ability to function day-to-day, it's important to seek professional help. A therapist can provide you with tools and strategies to deal with your symptoms and help you start feeling like yourself again. This is especially important if you are having thoughts of harming yourself or your baby.
  11. Don't try to do it all. As a mother, you might feel like you have to do everything perfectly. But the truth is that no one is perfect, and trying to be will only make your depression worse. Accept help from others and cut yourself some slack – your family will still love you even if the house isn't spotless or dinner isn't homemade.
  12. Avoid making major life decisions. If possible, avoid making any big decisions while you're dealing with PPD. Major life changes can add even more stress to an already difficult situation. Wait until you're feeling better before making any big decisions.
  13. Be patient with yourself. It takes time to recover from PPD, so be patient with yourself. Don't expect to feel better overnight – it might take weeks or even months. But if you're taking steps to cope with your depression, you will start to feel better eventually.
  14. Seek out social activities. If you're feeling isolated and alone, seek out social activities that interest you. This could include going to the movies, joining a book club, or taking a dance class. Doing things you enjoy will help you feel better and might even lead to some new friendships.
  15. Do something nice for someone else. Helping others can actually help to improve your own mood. Whether you volunteer your time or simply do something nice for a friend, the act of giving will help you to feel better.
  16. Take your medications as prescribed. If you're taking medication for PPD, it's important to take it as prescribed. Don't skip doses or stop taking your medication without speaking to your doctor first.
  17. Avoid alcohol and drugs. substance abuse can make PPD symptoms worse and can lead to addiction. If you're struggling with depression, it's best to avoid alcohol and drugs altogether.
  18. Talk to your doctor about alternative treatments. If you're not seeing improvements with traditional treatments, talk to your doctor about alternative options. This could include light therapy, acupuncture, or omega-3 supplements.
  19. Start a mindfulness routine. Mindfulness is a type of meditation that can help to reduce stress and promote wellbeing. There are many different mindfulness apps and programs available, so find one that works for you and make it part of your daily routine.
  20. Journal about how you are feeling. Writing down your thoughts and emotions can help to ease your mind and provide some clarity. It can also be helpful to look back on your journal entries and see how far you've come.
  21. Create a positive environment for yourself and your family. Surround yourself with positive people and things that make you happy. This could include photos of loved ones, favourite quotes, or anything else that brings a smile to your face.
  22. Give yourself time to physically heal. It's important to give yourself time to heal both physically and emotionally. After having a baby, your body needs time to recover. And it takes time to adjust to the new challenges of motherhood. Don't be too hard on yourself – you're doing the best you can under difficult circumstances.

Conclusion

Postpartum depression can be a very difficult condition to deal with, but there are many things you can do to help cope. These tips provide a starting point, but it's important to speak to your doctor if you're struggling. If you're having thoughts of harming yourself or your baby, please seek professional help immediately.

Recommended Resources

For more information on how to help someone during a health crisis, book a First Aid course with us today.

And if you are interested in finding out more about managing your mental health, check out the following articles in our Resource Library:

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