Postpartum depression (PPD) is often misunderstood by those close to new mothers who are experiencing it. Cultural perceptions of what motherhood should be can make women suffering from PPD feel uncomfortable and even ashamed to ask for help. It seems wrong to feel sad, lack enthusiasm, and even feel hopelessness after giving birth. As soon as you understand that these symptoms are not your fault and merely a result of natural yet severe chemical changes, you can begin the path to healing.
In a Psychology Today article written by Northern Illinois University professor Suzanne Degges-White, they shed light on why women are reluctant to seek out help: “New mothers are hesitant to express disappointment in their new roles and many around them may not encourage these feelings to be expressed. A woman who suffers from postpartum depression might not be able to find support from those around her because not even her closest friends could relate to her negative feelings about such a beautiful and life-changing experience. A woman’s partner also might not be able to understand the complex nature of the chemically-induced sadness and can even be “surprised and dismayed” at the limited emotional and practical contributions of her partner.”
The best way to tackle this disconnect between you and your loved ones is proper education on the subject. Everyone around you should be understanding of the fact that these feelings may just be out of your control. As soon as everyone is on the same page, they can focus on trusting you and helping beat the negative thought patterns. This is the best path to getting back to the love and positivity that surrounds a new child being born.
What Causes PPD?
Postpartum depression (PPD) is very common in the United States. Over 60% of women experience some type of postpartum depression symptoms in the first few months following birth. The “baby blues”, as you’ve most likely heard about, is a less severe form of PPD and include symptoms such as:
- Mood swings
- Trouble getting motivated or excited
- Difficulty sleeping
You should start to consider the possibility that you have postpartum depression if these symptoms begin to interfere with your ability to enjoy life and participate happily in the early months following childbirth. If your appetite begins to fade, you are having trouble bonding with your baby, or you experience uncontrolled fits of crying, you should consider seeking out professional assistance.
PPD is serious because it is the result of a hormonal imbalance in your body that causes uncontrolled emotional responses. It is a completely chemical process and is no one’s fault – which is also why it is curable. Without proper assistance and treatment, this sort of condition can spiral out of control.
Postpartum Depression Treatment | The Path to Recovery
Postpartum depression (PPD) can affect the relationship between a mother and her child. Therefore, mothers suffering from this condition must seek treatment from a professional who can help you gradually reset your mind and get the old you back.
The key to healing is acceptance. It is so important to understand that these symptoms are not going to last forever and are very common. You are not alone, and there are people who understand and want to help you. Proper therapy can help women understand that they are not alone in their experience and that their feelings don’t make them less of a mother. It is also great for helping women understand what is happening with their minds and make sense of these foreign thoughts and depressive states. It is always best if new moms can let go of unrealistic standards of how they are “supposed” to feel after giving birth before beginning treatment. By accepting and discussing your feelings with friends, family, and professional caregivers, you can begin to make sense of the confusing and conflicting feelings and receive some necessary validation. Every new mother must get reassurance from those closest to her to properly heal and reset their mental state.
Another important aspect of postpartum depression is the conflict between the idealized vision of motherhood and the harsh reality of early motherhood. Faced with this conflict, women may struggle internally yet be fearful of expressing their feelings aloud. A therapist knows better than anyone that the emotional realities of giving birth differ from the idyllic image of popular culture. In the safe, educated, and understanding environment of a therapist’s office, women can take the first steps towards healing and building a healthy relationship with their newborn.
There are two main options for treating postpartum depression properly:
Research suggests that taking common antidepressants as recommended by your doctor can have the same effect on PPD as normal depression. There has been some evidence showing there is a chance that starting medication before giving birth may help, but the side effects may be dangerous to the baby so this method is not recommended at all until more research is done. Always be sure to discuss with your doctor if there are any known side effects that may affect the quality of breast milk as well.
Medications are not very effective on their own. They require a professionally-designed treatment plan that includes therapeutic techniques as well as ensuring a balanced and targeted diet of healthy fats and plenty of exercise and rest. Always ensure you are engaging in a full-spectrum plan before engaging in any antidepressants or anxiety medication.
Psychological interventions are the most commonly prescribed treatment method for women experiencing Postpartum depression (PPD). There is plenty of research that proves how effective it is in combination with a physician-guided treatment plan. Some examples of this include interpersonal psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and other supportive interventions such as telephone-based peer support or counseling by a health professional. All of these methods are pointed out as being the most powerful methods for helping to curb negative thought processes. These methods all help you to confront the thoughts and feelings that trigger your depression. They aim to help you gain a fresh new perspective and learn simple methods to keep them at bay. Each type of therapy has its unique benefits, so discuss them with your doctor to figure out which is the best match for you.
Omega-3’s: a more novel treatment option, multiple studies show that Omega 3’s can help to support the effects of therapy naturally. Omega 3 supplements provide a rich supply of fatty acids that are critical to proper brain function. They help to balance proper chemical production within the brain as well as help to reduce mood swings, improve cognitive function, and increase the chances of a positive outlook. Taking omega 3’s along with a balanced diet, consistent exercise plan, and professional cognitive therapy is a powerful way to beat depression and keep it away for a long time. Additionally – exercise, massage therapy, and acupuncture are possibly effective supplemental methods for treating symptoms of postpartum depression as well.