What is Postnatal Depression?
Postnatal depression is a time of adjustment that both mums and dads can go through soon after birth. It is a time when they struggle with life-changing difference that come with having a new baby. Most people experience it temporarily. Do not confuse it with ‘baby blues’ though.
The baby blues happen during the first few days and lasts for only 2 to 3 days. You may feel emotional, moody, and anxious. If they last beyond these days then it is a sign of a depression developing. If you suspect you’re getting depressed seek support from your loved ones.
Signs of Postnatal Depression
Postnatal depression develops gradually, which is why many parents do not realise they have it. Some of the most common indications include:-
- A persistent low mood
- Losing interest of the world
- Feeling hopeless
- Feeling tired and lacking energy
- Feelings of worthlessness
- Doubting your ability as a mother
- Finding it hard to bond with your baby
- Feeling anxious
- Afraid of being alone
- Worrying about the baby too much
In extreme cases, a mother may think about leaving their family, or getting rid of their baby. It is important to seek professional help immediately, in such as situation.
The first thing you should do when you notice that you have depression is get support. It’s important to also let your doctor know as he may know where to refer you. Support plays a big part in elimination the depression fog and keeping it away. One of the places you can seek support from in Kenya is befrienders Kenya.
Once you get a hold of it, you can work your way out of it through self-help. To do this:
- Get Support – loneliness and isolation increase depression
- Take better care of yourself – sleep more, include fun activities in your day, try to adopt healthy habits
- Avoid negative thoughts – try replacing the negative with more balanced thoughts. For instance, do not expect perfection from yourself.
- Regularly exercise – exercise can be used as an antidepressant. Studies show that regular exercise increases your energy levels and reduces the feelings of fatigue.
- Eat a mood-boosting diet – reduce foods that affect mood such as alcohol, caffeine, saturated fats, trans-fats, and those with increased hormones or chemical preservatives levels. Eat more of a balanced diet with low-fat protein, vegetables, carbohydrates, and fruits.
- Know when to get help – if none of the above self-help tips work, kindly seek professional help
Postnatal Depression Treatments
There are different treatments that can treat depression for a parent. After getting help, these are a few of the treatments that may be availed to you.
- Support strategies
- Group treatment
- Medications such as antidepressants
Please note that development differs from one child to another. Content intended for educational purposes only, and not substituted for medical advice from your doctor.
Last reviewed January 2019
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