Caring for your mental health post pregnancy
Giving birth is one of the most happy, yet most overwhelming and stressful periods for a mom. While she’s ecstatic to hold her little one in her hands, she also has a body that’s recovering, a never-ending list of things to do and an infant who sees his world in hers. And that can take a toll on the best of us. Research says that one in eight moms suffer from serious postpartum depression while most struggle in the early days to make things work. And that is a disturbing statistic. So if you are about to or have just given birth, or have a partner or loved onE who’s in that stage, it’s important to know the essentials of caring for a new-mom’s mental health.
What is Post-Partum Depression?
Post-Partum depression is a feeling of depression that women face after giving birth, and this can happen anytime from 4 weeks to months post-delivery. While pregnant, a woman’s body is raging with hormones needed for the baby to grow. However, in the weeks following the birth all these hormonal levels return to normal, creating a chemical imbalance or a feeling of depression.
How can you care for your mental health?
There are many things you can do to ensure that you don’t spiral down this path, and most of it boils down to keeping yourself happy, healthy and stress-free. However, having an infant to care for makes that difficult. So here are a few practices that will help your mind stay strong.
- Bond with your baby: A lot of women may find it love at first sight, while many others may not feel an instant connection with their little one. In either case, your bub has magical healing powers. Hold him, feed him, talk to him, play with him—all of these help a mom stay mentally stronger and avoid PPD.
- Sleep: It may sound like an alien concept for a new mom, but try and get help so you can get maximum rest during the first few weeks. Creating another human from your body is not just a miracle, it’s also a huge drain on you. So rest up so you can stay happy.
- Eat well: Again, a fit body is an important aid in having a fit mind. Ply yourself with nutritious food so you feel good within. That will definitely help you feel positive on the inside.
- Me time: While the world expects you to be a 24/7 caretaker, every job needs a break and so does motherhood. Make sure to take out a few hours a day for yourself. You could go for a walk, a drive, binge watch your favourite shows or just chat with your friends, but you need to disconnect with the baby to be able to connect with yourself. And doing things you love will keep your mind happy.
- Get help: And if despite doing all of the above, you feel like you’re slipping into anything remotely resembling PPD, or are just feeling unhappy, don’t write it off. Get help immediately. Talk to your partner, your gynaecologist or a mental health professional. Prevention is the best cure, and getting help is the fastest route there.