Whether you are approaching your due date or already have your new baby, this is a must-read! About 80% of new moms experience a case of the "baby blues" following the birth of a child. These "blues" tend to go away within a few weeks. However, 20% of women (and men) experience postpartum depression and/or anxiety that lingers beyond the "baby blues" period. This can crop up anytime within the first year after birth and can last months to years if untreated.
Here are a few tips to help you reduce your risk of developing postpartum depression/anxiety. These are also great tips if you are already experiencing some form of these feelings.
- Talk About It!
Many people are afraid to admit that they are feeling down or anxious instead of being overcome with joy and happiness regarding being a new parent. However, talking about your true feelings to your partner, your family, your friends, or a therapist can really help!
- Get Out There!
Being a new parent can be incredibly isolating - and that is not good for the mind or heart. So get some fresh air, meet up with a friend, go to a "parent and baby" class, or attend a postpartum support group. Try to "schedule" something every day away from home, even if it's just a trip to the store. Your mind and heart will thank you!
- Don't Forget About You!
Two words: Self-Care. Be sure you are eating enough, drinking enough water, and resting. Work with those helpers in your life (your partner, family, friends, nanny, etc.) so that you can get some sleep! Being sleep deprived and nutritionally deficient is not good for you or your baby, and it can really make little problems feel very big. Also take some time to pamper yourself a little - take a bubble bath, get a manicure, or do something special that is just for you.
While these tips are useful, if you are in the middle of what you think may be postpartum depression or anxiety, please reach out for help. Keep in mind that the feelings you are having are symptoms of the condition - they are not the "new you". These symptoms are very treatable and you can start to feel better very soon.