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  • Writer's pictureAleezeh Hasan

Overcoming postpartum depression

After having a baby, you are probably expecting to be excited about bringing a new bundle of joy home with you, as well as a little bit anxious. On top of all these emotions, you might also find yourself feeling depressed.

While most women suffer from the “baby blues” after giving birth, postpartum depression can be much more serious and long-lasting. Feeling overwhelmed, hopeless, irritable and sometimes even violent are all emotions that stem from depression.

If you find yourself feeling depressed after you’ve had a child, it is important to understand that it is normal. Having a child is stressful and sometimes traumatic. It is valid to feel exhausted or frustrated. Your body goes through hormonal changes, so feeling down is not unusual. If you begin to feel like the depression is not wearing off, you can take certain steps to improve your mental well being.

Here’s what you can try:

· Call your doctor. Let your doctor know how you are feeling, and they will be able to guide you in what steps to take. In some cases, they will provide medication to help you with overcoming postpartum depression.

· Take a break. Allow someone else to take care of your baby for small periods of time. This could be your partner, a babysitter or another family member. Take the time to relax and do something that you enjoy or haven’t been able to do while taking care of your child.

· Go for a walk. Taking a light stroll outside and getting fresh air for a few minutes everyday can help you clear your mind. This walk does not need to be a full hike, just taking 10 minutes to go around your own block can be a refreshing break in the day.

· Create snack bags. Eating healthy while caring for an infant can be tough. Putting aside prefilled packets of healthy snacks can be perfect for you to grab and enjoy, especially if you’re on the go. These can include veggies, boiled eggs, nuts, granola or fruit. Having a quick boost of energy from a small snack can help you power through a busy day of child care.

· Rest. You might think that it is nearly impossible to feel well rested right after having a baby, but you can figure out ways to add naps into your routine. Try to sleep when your baby sleeps or take quick power naps throughout the day to recharge. If you cannot fall asleep, just laying down with your eyes closed for twenty minutes can bring similar benefits.

· Talk to someone. Therapy can be a great way to get through a difficult time. Laying out your problems can help you understand them better and a professional can give you helpful coping mechanisms for your negative feelings. If you cannot afford therapy, or simply do not have the time, talking to a friend or a family member can still feel rewarding. Finding someone who you can be open and honest with can lift a huge burden off your shoulders. You might also be able to find other new mothers that are feeling similarly. Having someone to go through the hardships with can be helpful.

There are a lot of stresses that come with being a new parent. Overcoming postpartum depression is challenging, but not impossible. Taking small steps can lead to better health for both you and your baby.

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