Anyone who has suffered from any form of postpartum depression knows that it is nothing to be taken lightly.
Knowing you are not alone, and that your feelings are not your fault, are important things to remember when trying to find a way to tackle your pain. Many mothers go through what you are experiencing now and want to help you make it through. It is OK to be honest about your feelings and seek help.
Here are some suggestions to help you find support and gain information in your journey. Many are simple and will only be helpful in mild cases. These ideas are not intended to be of use in very serious cases of depression or replace the assistance of a trained therapist.
If you are in need of serious and immediate help please reach out to your health care provider, a close friend or family member, or a group like Postpartum Support International right away. This national non-profit specializes in providing information, help and support for moms suffering from perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. Their warmline is 1-800-944-4773.
Ideas for helping to ease postpartum depression.
Connect with others: Support groups can help you to feel more connected, but can also result in friendships that go beyond meeting times. Your life has changed and you will need to change and expand your friendships as well. Find support and resources in the Postpartum Depression forum on Mothering.com and look for local mom groups in your area, such as the Holistic Moms Network and La Leche League. If you cannot find a local group consider spending time at local parks or rec centers to meet other parents. Even just getting out of the house to run errands can ease the feeling of being alone.
Take time for yourself: It can seem impossible to find time to yourself when you have a new baby but try to arrange a bit of alone time now and then. Many moms forget how important this is or feel guilty wanting "me time." Keeping yourself sane and balanced is vital to being a healthy parent. If time to yourself is scarce, remember that even a 15-minute break in another room can be refreshing. Ask a family member to watch over baby for a bit of time every day, or take advantage of naps to unwind.
Talk to a therapist: A couple of sessions might make all the difference in the world. Don't be afraid to reach out--most health insurance plans will cover these sessions. If you don't have insurance call your county for help paying for a therapist.
Call for help: Post a phone number for a good parent stress line near the telephone. If you find yourself experiencing despair or intense anger, call. The people that man these lines are familiar with what you’re going through and they can help. The Postpartum Support International Warmline is 1-800-944-4773.
Use aromatherapy: To raise your spirits, try combinations of ylang ylang, clary sage, geranium, and rose essential oils in an aromatherapy diffuser, or added to a hot bath. More information on aromatherapy for moms can be found here.
Try homeopathy: Ignatia and natrum muriatricum are good for weepiness and moodiness. Kail carbonicum is good for irritability and fatigue. The article Family Homeopath has some suggestions for postpartum moms. Other homeopathy articles can be found here.
Incorporate yoga and meditation: You might be surprised to find out how much a little exercise or meditation can help. Check out our Body & Soul section for articles.
Discover information: Read Mothering the Mother: The Importance of Postpartum Care from health expert Mat'at Grant and Losing It by Sarah R. Fields, a mom who experienced severe depression after her baby was born.
Most importantly, don't suffer alone. Look for help however you feel most comfortable.