Postpartum depression is a complex mix of physical, emotional, and behavioral changes that occur in a mother after giving birth.
I remember feeling too weak to get out of bed for weeks after I had my first child.
I was so depressed, too, I couldn’t take good care of myself and was told it was because of the hormonal changes in my body.
During pregnancy, the levels of two female hormones, estrogen and progesterone, rise significantly. In the first 24 hours after childbirth, these rapidly drop back to their normal non-pregnant levels. Researchers think that this fast change in hormone levels may trigger depression, just as smaller changes in hormones can affect the moods before the menstrual cycle.
These changes affect how you feel physically and emotionally, causing fatigue or mood swings. Physical, emotional, and lifestyle factors all play a role in postpartum depression. The primary causes include
- a family history of depression or substance abuse l
- ittle or no support from family and friends
- anxiety about the child
- problems with a previous pregnancy or birth
- marital or financial problems
- feeling less attractive
- doubting your ability to be a good mother.
I always thought I had to be the perfect super mom. Having to stay home for more extended periods, and having less time to spend with my husband also resulted in my depression. So how did I combat it?
Getting up in the morning with the help of my husband for a work out helped to brighten my mood.
I started taking my diet and sleep more seriously, not too little or too much.
I talked to therapists and took anti-depressant medicines as prescribed by the doctor.
I remember taking a nap when the baby did and asking for help from family members and friends. Talking with other moms helped. One other things that also helped me was keeping a diary to note down my emotions and feelings and vent.
I got help with the housework, cooking, and caring for the baby. The truth is, I wasn’t afraid to ask for help. I told my husband I would like it if we went out to eat at a restaurant sometimes. I became realistic about how much I could achieve each day.
Most importantly, I was deliberate about discussing my feelings with my hubby. Being a woman means nurturing and nourishing, protecting and honoring, cherishing, and adoring. It means giving everything we have to offer and then asking ourselves, did I give enough? It means longing for lost youth and celebrating the wisdom that comes with age. It implies vulnerability and strength, humble gratitude, and glowing pride, holding on and letting go. Being a woman means grieving the end and celebrating the beginning, closing chapters, and writing new ones.
I later found out that relaxation techniques could have profound effects and long-lasting effects on my mood. And there were many other things I could have done to get better – yoga to relax the body/mind, Tai Chi, dance, breathing exercises, silent meditation, guided meditation, and walking meditation. There is bodywork such as acupressure, massage therapy, and acuuncture. I also considered joining a support group, and socializing with more positive people.
We all go about it in different ways. How about learning a brand new dance? The dance of the mother and infant child is also another beautiful way to tackle postpartum depression.