How to deal with postpartum depression

Postpartum depression manifests itself with anxiety, feelings of worthlessness, fatigue and/or lack of interest. The depressive disorder takes place following the birth of a baby. It is treatable through prescribed medications, therapy and time.

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  • It might be difficult to get out of bed each day. Nonetheless seek expert medical assistance from a dependable physician, take prescribed medications. And there are additional ways to cope with postpartum depression.

  • After my fourth child was born, I suffered from a clinical after-birth depression. I was determined to get better when Dawn was a baby. I thought the blackness and anxiety would leave while I was still able to hold her in my arms and rock her and before she toddled and talked. Time moved on - night then day - fall - winter - spring - then summer. The changes in the seasons brought little relief to my depression.

  • Postpartum depression can vary from mild to suicidal and can transpire anytime after child delivery to within a year. Changes in hormone levels can cause the all-encompassing depression. It may affect any woman regardless of her age or race.

  • The New England Journal of Medicine states, "One out of eight new mothers will have postpartum depression."

  • The New England Journal defines some of the symptoms of major depression with postpartum onset. (Comments on coping methods are expressed by this author.)

  • The journal states that one symptom must either be depressed mood or decreased interest or pleasure.

  • Other symptoms from The New England Journal include

  • Depressed mood often accompanied or overshadowed by severe anxiety

  • If leaving the house is too much for you - though I hated to hear it from friends - going outside and absorbing the sunshine proved helpful for short periods of time – trying to relax in the fresh air.

  • Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in activities

  • If you can force involvement in activities you once enjoyed sometimes it can divert your attention from the mental pain if even for a small period of time. I did simple things: Put photos in albums - record feelings in a journal - become involved in scrapbooking.

  • Appetite disturbance — usually loss of appetite with weight loss

  • Try to eat food that appeals to you especially if it's healthy. Eat small portions several times a day.

  • Sleep disturbance — most often insomnia and fragmented sleep

  • Rest during the day. Caring for a newborn can cause exhaustion. Relax by reading a magazine or watching television. Try to sleep while baby sleeps instead of doing laundry or ask someone to tend the baby during rest intervals. Take a relaxing bath.

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  • Physical agitation

  • Tell someone you trust about how you feel. It releases tension to talk about it. Call a sympathetic friend or meet with a therapist who you know will be a good listener. As mentioned, even if you're not a writer get all of your pain and agony written down in a journal. It's therapeutic. Cry if you can.

  • Fatigue, decreased energy

  • Again, rest or take naps. Exercise is important even if you have to force yourself to work it into your day for 15 minutes. It helps to have a partner walk short distances with you. The conversation will also be good. Accept help from others to cook an occasional meal and fold your laundry.

  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt

  • Try not to feel guilty. Having PPD doesn't mean you are a bad mother or that you don't experience love for your baby. Once you feel better, the positive feelings will return. Buy a new item of clothing or wear your favorite outfit on tough days. Depression is not a personal weakness. I clung to repeated encouragement from a therapist: "Jelean, it will go away!"

  • Decreased concentration or ability to make decisions

  • Rely on family members to make important finance and other significant decisions.

  • Postpartum depression manifests itself with poor concentration, anxiety, feelings of sadness and worthlessness, fatigue, lack of interest in activities. And it causes loss of appreciation for the beauties around you. The depressive disorder takes place following the birth of a baby. It is treatable through prescribed medications, therapy, and using the above suggested coping methods.

  • After consistent treatment of carefully administered medications, therapeutic procedures and time, my symptoms eased. An overpowering joy came over me. I saw mountains verdant with pine trees, smelled a lilac, heard the song of a robin. And I held my baby in my arms - I rocked her and loved her.

  • Look for the signs of postpartum depression in yourself if you suspect trouble. If you suffer from postpartum depression, you can also seek help and find recovery. Speak to someone about your recovery today.

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Jelean Reynolds is an accomplished author. She is a mother to 5 children and a grandmother to 18 beautiful grandchildren.

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