Motherhood is an extremely challenging phase in a woman’s life. You can choose to let it break you into a clinically depressive individual, or make you into a strong, beautiful, inspiring mother.
Postpartum Depression – How to Manage It
Postpartum depression may be moderate or severe and may develop within three months of childbirth. Common symptoms are feeling worthless/used, irritated, negative feeling towards baby, weight issues, ‘burdened’ with social and work responsibilities, loss of energy, feeling isolated etc.
The reasons for the condition could be unplanned pregnancy or having mixed feelings of getting pregnant, anxiety related to added responsibilities, little or no support from spouse and/or family, sleepless nights, breastfeeding problems (clogged nipples or reduced milk flow, initial anxiety with baby suckling), demanding or uncompromising spouse etc.
Women suffering from such depression need to seek strength from within, and reach out to people around them for support.
Be assertive and openly express your situation of post-delivery exhaustion, and the need for extra love and support to manage your life and others’ around you. Ensure that you make time for yourself to rest and rejuvenate.
Read books or surf the internet for positivity, time and people management, new mother’s dietary needs and baby development, which would clear a lot of your anxiety and also refresh your mind.
For severe cases, a psychiatrist may be required, who may suggest a questionnaire, such as the Edinburgh Post natal depression scale, to ascertain the level of depression, and may treat with antidepressants that are safe during breastfeeding. There may be several counseling sessions required for both mother and the family.
Exercise, Yoga, Massage, Care
There is no substitute for exercise for a healthy mind and body. Enrolling in a pre-delivery yoga or aerobics class helps you with maintaining a good weight and also aids in the delivery process because your muscles are flexible.
The same programme extends to postpartum yoga or exercise but would require managing between the breastfeeding schedules, and should be done under the supervision of a trained professional or, better still, if offered in the hospital.
A good oil massage from the well known postpartum masseurs relieves the new mother of muscle aches, backaches, etc. and is said to strengthen and relax the stressed out body.
Care should be taken by the new mother not to exert oneself immediately in household chores, lifting heavy things (the uterus is still in a very vulnerable state).
Take help by hiring domestic help, or ask for some relative (parents) to help out for the first two months at least.
Make a resolution to be fit and fine, to ensure that your motherhood is an enjoyable experience and not a nightmare.