There are many symptoms that could indicate you are suffering from postpartum depression. Some of these could include avoiding family and friends, not being able to take care of yourself or your baby, or having sadness or guilt consume your thoughts. If you have trouble feeling close to your baby or making decisions, those may be indicators you have postpartum depression as well.
With all the hormonal changes after childbirth “baby blues” can be normal, but if symptoms last more than 2 weeks you may be a part of the 15% of mothers that have a more severe form of depression.
Other possible symptoms could be fears that you’re not a good mother, severe mood swings, anxiety, or panic attacks, and too much or too little sleep. You could also suffer from a lack of interest in daily tasks or thoughts of harming yourself or your baby. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms for longer than 2 weeks you could be experiencing postpartum depression.
While the symptoms seem vast, there are a number of things you can do at home to relieve your symptoms. One of the things you should do first is educate yourself on PDD symptoms and treatment. In your research you may find there are a number of support groups with other moms feeling just like you in your community (Grand Rapids, MI). While it’s great to talk about your symptoms with others who understand, it’s also important to take time for yourself and rest.
Other activities to do that can help with PDD are not isolating yourself, letting the housework go, wearing your baby and talking to them during daily activities, and knowing that a major adjustment to a birth is normal and it will likely pass without treatment. Studies have shown that breastfeeding can help with postpartum depression.
In addition to engaging in some of these activities, it’s important to exercise when you can and maintain a healthy diet (consume extra omega 3’s). The body can overcome incredible things when fueled and rested properly, and always remember, it is never too early to seek treatment.
In addition to the small things you can incorporate into your daily lifestyle, there are several medical interventions that can help you. Counseling, naturopathic medicine, and seeking a psychiatrist are among these.
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