Becoming a parent triggers an array of emotions, from joy and excitement to anxiety and fear. Sometimes you may not know that you are depressed, you might think you feel the way all new mums feel. Being tired is normal with a newborn, but being hopeless and sad is not. First and foremost, it is important to reach out and ask for help.
Postpartum signs to watch out for:
- Your “baby blues” don’t get better.
It’s common to have a dip in mood during your baby’s first 2 weeks. After that, you should feel better. But if you’re still sad or even hopeless weeks later, and the feelings are growing intense, that’s more than the blues.
- Sadness or guilt consumes your thoughts.
Feeling upset once in a while is normal. But if you have frequent crying spells, or you often feel unhappy about being a parent, or you’re often “down on yourself” as a mum, these may be among the first signs of postpartum depression.
- You lose interest in things you enjoy.
Are you laughing at your favorite movie? Are you interested in being affectionate with your partner? What about your favorite foods? Are you enjoying them? Are you eating at all? If you said no, talk to your doctor about these changes in mood and habits.
- You have trouble making decisions.
Maybe you’re too tired to think straight. Maybe you just don’t care. If you can’t decide whether or not to get out of bed, take a shower, change your baby’s diaper, or take them for a walk, these may be early signs of postpartum depression.
- You think about harming yourself.
Thoughts of suicide, or hurting yourself or your baby, are advanced signs of postpartum depression, a rare and serious mental illness that happens with postpartum depression. If you’re having any kind of suicidal thoughts, you’re in crisis and need immediate help.
What to do:
Building a successful bond allows the child to feel safe enough to develop fully, and having this bond will affect how children communicate and form relationships throughout their life.
A secure bond forms when you tune in and respond to your child’s needs or emotional cues, such as picking them up, soothing them, and reassuring them when they cry. Being that dependable source of comfort allows your child to learn how to manage their feelings and behaviors, which, in turn, helps to strengthen their cognitive development.
Taking care of you is one of the best ways to relieve or prevent postpartum depression. Simple lifestyle choices can improve your health and mood and help you to feel more like yourself again. Example:
- Nap. “Sleep when the baby sleeps” is a phrase often used by those giving new parents advice — advice that parents usually roll their eyes at. After all, getting any form of sleep while looking after a newborn is a tricky task.
If you have family or friends who can look after your baby while you take a nap, be sure to enlist their help.
- Pamper yourself. Take some time out from your mum duties and take small steps to indulge yourself. Catch up on your favorite show, read an interesting novel or perhaps light some soothing scented candles and soak in your bath tub.
3. Finally, build a support network
Humans are social creatures and crave interaction with others. Having positive social interactions and emotional support may be a protective factor in helping to reduce stress and deal with life’s difficulties.
PS: Always ensure to speak with your health care provider if you feel you have one or more of the signs stated above.