For those of you who don’t know, postpartum depression is a state of depression that comes after giving birth.
Let me say this right now though, I am no pregnant woman.
That being said, I do know what I am talking about when it comes to depression.
I also know how to treat postpartum depression, at least in theory.
Some of you female readers might want to drop this article right here and now, but if you stick through this with me you might find the results that you are looking for.
That being said, experiences may differ between each and every one of you, as well as results.
Why is that? Aside from the fact that you are all different, There is more than one cause for depression. It means that there are different approaches you might wish to take in order to deal with this problem.
As such, I feel like I should tell you more about your problem so that you will find the best solution for yourself.
Is this just some more nonsense?
Baby blues are general feelings of “down” after birth, they are very typical and normally pass within a week or two.
Postpartum depression is the very same feeling, only much stronger, that lasts a lot longer.
Both conditions are very common. How common? Roughly 80% of women go through these baby blues, with 15% of all women suffering from postpartum depression.
Pretty common right? Thought so!
As you can see, these problems are not just some made up nonsense. These are legitimate issues that many women suffer from.
“Don’t diagnose yourself!”
Some people may be on about how you shouldn’t just “decide” that you have either of these problems and go to a professional.
These people will claim that you aren’t an expert yourself, and as such your “diagnosis” will probably be a misdiagnosis.
Even so, assuming that you “misdiagnosed” your problem, what’s the worst that can happen?
Seriously, just don’t be dumb enough to shove antidepressants down your throat without consoulting an expert and you will be fine.
Anything else that you can do to make yourself feel better (and we will get to that) isn’t going to be harmful to begin with.
Besides, even if you don’t suffer from any particular mental disorder, the activities that qualify as self-help aren’t harmful to you to begin with!
So why not? Here are a few symptoms you should watch out for:
- Anger and irritability
- Sleep problems (too much or too little)
- anxiety as a whole
- eating disorders (too much or too little)
- A general loss of interest
- Feelings of doubt, more so for the baby itself
- Struggle to form a bond with the baby
- emotional detachment in general.
If you have at least 3 of these, or the rest of the symptoms, then it is possible that you have either the “baby blues” or the depression-based version.
This should be enough to give you the initiative to discuss your struggles at length with your doctor.
Either way, both baby blues and depression suck.
What causes this in the first place?
There aren’t really any clear causes, shockingly enough.
It’s mostly just a mix of possible causes, since there isn’t enough research on the topic to based off any substantial argument for one particular factor.
All possible factors really break down into 3 categories:
Progesterone is a type of hormone that is crucial for childbirth. Before giving birth it helps you by preparing the uterus, and during pregnancy it regulates it over time. No use getting into juicy details.
Another hormone worth mentioning is the “female” hormone Estrogen. Both are dominant in females and males only have rather small amounts of them.
Both may drop after pregnancy is over, at least for a while, something that may lead to hormonal imbalance.
People who suffer from these issues tend to exhibit symptoms along the lines of mood swings, impulsive behavior and yes, even depression.
Other hormones produced by your thyroid gland may decrease as well, only making the problem worse.
Research remains largely inconclusive in regards to hormones, claiming that that the shift in hormones (and stress hormones, who cause depression) is a symptom and not a cause.
The mindset issue behind these problems is more about you being a parent than anything else.
Quite frankly, childbirth is a scary ordeal! Not because of the fear, pain uncertainty (or anything in between) towards the future.
No, the real problem is a combination of all of these.
What do I mean? Not one particular factor makes people go and break down over their future children.
One major cause for depression is stress, the hormones confirm so, yet stress builds up with different factors.
unsupportive environments, terrible relationships and different hardships of life make the struggle of bearing a child even more difficult, aside from the actual stress the child itself brings before/during birth.
To create a flat out case of depression, one cause has to be pressed hard.
Either that, or multiple causes manipulating your brain into depression at the same time.
Child birth isn’t an easy ordeal, by any means. In fact, it is is just as taxing on the mind as it is one the body.
The last possible cause is a purely physical one.
Your hormones may drop, your mental state may decline, but the physical issues are the most obvious ones. People will be able to point out something that is physically wrong with you that much easier.
An unbalanced diet may very well be obvious, as are medical conditions, sleeping problems and a large intake of drugs and alcohol.
All of these things are purely your fault, and they endanger not only you, but your child as well.
Physical habits like these create sress as well, much like the mental one, leading to depression as well as agumenting any mental issues you might have had up to that point.
this issue is particularly problematic
Postpartum depression is one of the worst things that can happen to you, specifically because of the sheer timing of it.
Here’s the deal, getting depressed after giving birth is the worst time for you to get depressed.
Why? Because depression leads to emotional detachment, due to other, uncontrollable factors. You will find yourself focusing on your own problems rather than tending to your child.
That’s the real issue right there. Depression can come and it can go, that statement is even more accurate for simple baby blues, yet your baby’s first months/years will not.
As such, you need to shake this problem off as fast as you can and maintain as normal a lifestyle as possible, despite your issues.
What you should do
Causes may differ, and without a cause, a specific cause to pinpoint to coming up with a solution might be difficult.
As such, my advice will be all over the place.
That being said, it doesn’t make it any less important or useful.
Cut yourself some slack
I am not talking about doing nothing, since that’s a terrible idea, but letting someone else shoulder at least some of the responsibilities may prove more valuable to you than you might have originally thought.
Do things that you like to do, spend time with your baby, don’t shoulder more responsibility than you absolutely have to.
Doing nothing will only make your depression worse, yet doing too much will just make any possible case of anxiety that much more of a nightmare to bear.
Relax as much as you can, don’t overwork yourself, by efficient.
With you spending all of your time with a baby, this might prove to be a bit difficult, I get it.
That being said, you should have a balanced diet, proper levels of vitamins and minerals (you should check those out), and some mild exercise (consider taking up running).
Yes yes, I know this is easier said and done, yet coming up with excuses will get you nowhere.
You aren’t being healthy just because you like it, this isn’t some luxury. You need it to make your depression better, suffering from a declining physical condition will only make your depression worse.
If you don’t work at it, it’s only going to go downhill from there.
Do this for both your sake and the sake of your baby.
Avoid being alone or in a bad company
Isolating yourself from other people is pretty easy when you are depressed. Don’t do that.
Your own negative thoughts are going to be your only company. well, them and the baby, but it won’t do you much good if your loud, needy, child is your only company.
Another extreme is surrounding yourself with negative people. You really don’t want to do that. We are who we hang out with.
Any pessimistic, rude and downright manipulative behavior is one that you should ignore and avoid to the best of your ability.
Instead, you should surround yourself with people who care about you. A small group of people who will support you and offer positive reinforcement.
Encouraging yourself is much worse than being encouraged by others, you know?
Don’t worry too much
Unlike most cases of depression, postpartum depression can solve itself.
Be it a shift and regulation in your hormones, the stress of childbirth going down or just you dropping an unhealthy lifestyle for the sake of your child.
You got a wonderful time ahead of you. Difficult, sure, but wonderful nonetheless.
So relax for a bit and tell me about your first (?) childbirth, would any of my advice be useful to you under your conditions?
Make sure to write your answer in the comment section below, I read every single one of them!
If you got any questions you would like to ask me personally make sure to send me an email and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible!