Having a child carries much with it. There is the physical pain of childbirth. Add to this the physical changes to the woman’s body. Then there is a new member of the family – a baby who, although cute and cuddly, is often difficult – crying for no reason, sleeping and not sleeping, hungry when you swear you just fed the child. We often put pressure on ourselves to know the right thing to do, forgetting that this is new experience and will take some getting used to. And aside from all this, the change in the relationship with your significant other is different.
So, it is normal to feel a little sad during this period, a little down. There will be days when you are short because you didn’t get enough sleep, days when you feel you can do nothing right. It is when these days become a week where there is little or no interest in the baby, in the day to day activities of becoming a family. This type of prolonged sadness could mean that depression is developing and post partum depression it at the door.
There are some things to do that can help any new mom to lessen the sad and tense times of new motherhood. Postpartum depression, however, can still occur and it is important to watch for the signs but these few tips on caring for yourself following birth might help whether or not depression strikes.
Watch the type of picture you have about motherhood. Everything around us pushes the perfect mom; however, being a perfect mom is impossible. Recognize the unrealistic expectations of those around you and you yourself have and let them go. Just work to be a good mom, not a perfect mom.
Life has changed and don’t try to fit a new baby and all the new responsibilities into that old life. Remember that you can say no, you can set new boundaries, and you can be okay with doing what you think is best for yourself and your child.
Remember to take time for yourself. Perhaps a bath with a chance to just sit and be with yourself, or a date with your spouse while a helpful friend or family member takes care of the new baby. You need quiet times like these to adjust to being a mom and to the change in your couple life. Across the board, whether you are a new mom or a senior citizen or anyone in between, self-care is important for keeping you happy and healthy.
And lastly, ask for and accept help. All of us need some help. That might be in babysitting meals, housework, whatever. And it means also asking for help if that sad feeling persists for more than a few days. Set an appointment with someone who can help you through this post partum depression. It’s the very best thing you can do for yourself, your baby and your family.
And if you are a mom a few times over or a friend or family member of that mom, remember these tips and remember that post partum depression can strike on your first, fifth or tenth child. Depression is an equal opportunity destroyer and it doesn’t care what number child it is but together, we can defeat it.
Filed under: Clinical depression, health, Mental health, Parenting | 2 Comments »