There are rumors floating around about the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, and her possibly suffering with postpartum depression. We hope that they are not true, but even more so, we hope that she is not suffering in silence.
Postpartum depression has such a terrible reputation with the only face of it being the moms who kept silent and end up in the news with tragic outcomes. This is not postpartum depression. This will not be you if you seek out help for “baby blues.” It is possible to end up there without proper help, but make sure that you are asking for it.
Right after you give birth to your perfect little baby, you feel like you can conquer anything. But, you did just give birth to a human being. Your body is going back from the slow and steady process of growing and becoming two humans to suddenly going back to one, and the hormonal shift that goes along with that is HUGE. It’s kind of similar to being on an antidepressant to regulate your hormonal balance. When you start taking something like Zoloft (or any other antidepressant) your physician will caution you to not stop taking the medication “cold turkey,” because it can throw your hormones so off balance that it will cause major side effects like clinical depression or even psychosis. Instead you should wean off the medication to give your body time to adjust to the change. The postpartum period can be very similar to this for women. Some women adjust to the drastic change in hormones without effect. Others notice feeling “baby blues” as their bodies adjust. And still others have a very difficult time adjusting and experience true Postpartum Depression or worse, Postpartum Psychosis.
According to American Psychological Association, 1 in 7 new moms will suffer from Postpartum Depression as a result of this disruption of the massive amount of hormones going through their body.
Here are some things that you can do to help prevent PPD:
Know if you are at a higher risk for PPD. Several factors can contribute to PPD, including previous diagnosis of depression or anxiety, bad diet, exposure to pollutants, not enough social support to deal with the life changing event of having a baby, not having realistic expectations of what new motherhood actually looks like, having a high needs baby… and this is just to list a few.
Ensure that you have enough social support be it from your partner, family or friends. Let them help you as you and your family adjust to having a new baby. Do not be afraid to ask for help! People actually want to help when there is a new baby, and we are not meant to do this alone.
Resources. There are several organizations available to help you like Postpartum Support International. www.postpartum.net
Do not be afraid to talk to your healthcare provider about it. You would not hesitate to call if your baby was sick, or even if you were sick. If you need help, reach out to the people whose job it is help you. The sooner you reach out for help, the easier it is for your care provider help you.
Supplements and/or Medications. There are over the counter natural remedies that can sometimes help, and if they cannot, there are prescription drugs that can help, and are safe for the baby while taking them. It is there waiting, but you have to take the first step and ask your care provider.
Rest. Rest and take care of your body as much as you possibly can. Having and caring for an infant takes a huge toll physically. Allow yourself to nap when you can, and to just rest and time some “time off” when you are able.
Sunshine. Good ol' fashion sunshine can do wonders to lift your spirits. Not to mention the vitamin D is great for leveling out your mood. So opening the windows or going outside for a walk or even to eat your meals can help boost your morale.
Placental Encapsulation. Placentas are rich in hormones and can help aid a mother in transitioning from having an abundance of pregnancy hormones to having none in the postpartum period (similar to weaning off an antidepressant, like mentioned above).
It all goes back to the advice that the airline flight attendants give: you have to put on your own oxygen mask before you can help others with theirs. You have to take care of yourself so that you are able to take care of your family. We want you to thrive in this new season, not just survive.
-- Written by Origins' amazing Office Manager, Beth Dickerson (mom to 2 boys and Certified Birth Doula)