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How to Help Someone with Postpartum Depression? 

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How to Help Someone with Postpartum Depression? 

Postpartum depression happens when a mother experiences periods of deep sadness shortly after the baby is born. In addition to the negative feelings involved, the disease can also have negative consequences for the mother’s emotional bond with the child.

In this post, you will learn how to identify the disease, whether it is time to seek medical help and check out some tips on how to help someone with postpartum depression. Follow along!

What Is Postpartum Depression?

Postpartum depression is a mood disorder that affects women from 4 weeks to 18 months after the birth of the baby. The main signs of the problem include apathy, lack of bonding with the newborn, intense irritation, and frequent crying.

It is important to highlight that such behaviors can be considered normal when they occur in the first days after birth.

They result from hormonal changes, changes in lifestyle, and necessary adaptations to the new condition.

Such sensations are experienced by up to 80% of women in labor and are called baby blues.

The difference between baby blues and postpartum depression lies in the intensity and persistence of the symptoms.

In the first case, the discomfort tends to decrease as the days go by and disappear within 2 weeks after the birth of the child.

In the case of depression, the discomfort worsens over time, resulting in profound exhaustion, melancholy increasing, difficulty in achieving routine activities, and feeling incapable of caring for the baby.

What Are The Causes Of Postpartum Depression?

The first misconception to be discarded is the idea that depression results from something that is under the mother’s control.

In other words, the cause of depression is not related to character or anything the woman is — or is not — doing. That’s why postpartum depression awareness is necessary.

Generally, the disorder is triggered by the sum of reasons of physical and emotional orders. Among these, it is necessary to consider:

  • hormonal changes (abrupt drop in estrogen, progesterone, and hormones produced by the thyroid);
  • sleep deprivation;
  • inadequate nutrition;
  • stress arising from events that occurred during pregnancy or shortly after birth (divorce, bereavement, change of job or housing…);
  • financial concerns;
  • low omega 3 index;
  • dissatisfaction with the pregnancy;
  • social isolation;
  • instability in the relationship;
  • lack of family support;
  • insecurity regarding the ability to care for the baby;
  • health problems (of the mother or the newborn);
  • history of depression at another time in life or during pregnancy;
  • problems related to low self-esteem (quite recurrent, due to changes in the body and lifestyle).

Any parturient is subject to facing the problem. Including those who have already had other children. Each birth is a different situation. Therefore, it is always possible that postpartum reactions will also be different. So, everyone must know how to help someone with postpartum depression.

Read More: What Practices and Habits Can Help Alleviate the Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder?

Side Effects of Postpartum Depression

The symptoms of postpartum depression are not identical for all women. Even in individual experience, the signs can vary from day to day.

Long Term Effects of Postpartum Depression

Reports from those facing the condition include factors such as:

  • exhaustion;
  • binge eating or, on the contrary, lack of appetite and aversion to food;
  • insomnia or sleeping excessively;
  • sadness and crying for no reason;
  • marked irritability;
  • anxiety;
  • panic attacks;
  • unexplained mood swings;
  • lack of emotional bond with the newborn;
  • fear of not being a good mother;
  • feeling of guilt, shame and worthlessness;
  • low self-esteem;
  • isolation from family and friends;
  • difficulty maintaining concentration, remembering things, or making simple decisions;
  • lack of interest in activities that previously aroused enthusiasm and enthusiasm;
  • feeling of hopelessness;
  • intrusive thoughts about harming yourself or your baby.

Without treatment, symptoms can worsen and persist for years.

So, when noticing a set of signs — that do not disappear after the first weeks postpartum — it is advisable not to postpone the search for a mental health professional.

How to Deal with Postpartum Depression?

You may wonder how to help someone with postpartum depression. The first measure to deal with the problem is to talk about the sensations and discomforts.

It may seem like a simple suggestion, but many women suppress their feelings for fear of being misinterpreted.

Ideally, the new mother can let off steam with family and friends, and even get help with carrying out tasks.

However, if you don’t feel comfortable starting a conversation with people close to you, the best alternative is to seek a doctor’s advice from the trust. This, in turn, may suggest the most appropriate treatment, referring you to a psychologist or psychiatrist.

After consultations with healthcare professionals and clarifications about the condition, it will be easier to find the right approach to informing family members about the disorder — as well as asking for their support.

In addition to the treatment plan — which may include psychotherapy, antidepressants or both — other actions promote improvement in postpartum depression.

How to Help Someone With PPD

The main indications are:

  • Rest as much as possible, taking advantage of the baby’s sleeping hours to sleep too;
  • Take naps that add up to at least 60 minutes a day;
  • Maintain an exercise routine, which may include stroller rides with the baby or brief walks (around 10 minutes), repeated throughout the day;
  • Take care of nutrition, planning meals (to ensure that nutritious options are within reach and treats are not the immediate choice);
  • Set aside time for self-care and leisure activities leisure;
  • Carry out meditation sessions, to relax;
  • Share the tasks — related to home and baby care — with a partner, family, or trusted people;
  • Search support groups in-person or virtual, to exchange information and experiences with other mothers.

In addition to these guidelines, it is important to keep in mind that the period after childbirth is, naturally, complex, as it requires a series of changes in lifestyle.

Postpartum depression makes this moment even more difficult and, if interpreted carelessly, can compromise the experience of motherhood for a long time.

Read More: ADHD Burnout: Signs, Causes, and Treatment

How to Help Someone with Postpartum Depression? 

  1. Don’t compare her to other mothers.
  2. Just listen to her. Without judgment, without minimizing your pain or wanting to offer magical solutions.
  3. Be proactive and see how you can help her with household chores and baby care.
  4. Seek information about postpartum depression to better understand how it feels.
  5. Remind her that her symptoms do not define her as a mother. Everything is temporary and will get better once she gets treatment.
  6. Always encourage seeking professional treatment. Offer companionship when she goes to her doctor’s appointment and help her find a specialized therapist.

Books That Can Help You Understand and Deal with Postpartum Depression

Sometimes we think about how to help a friend with postpartum depression, you may recommend these books.

  • The definitive guide to postpartum. By Oscar Serrallach. HarperCollins Publisher.
  • Visible women, invisible mothers. By Laura Gutman. Best Seller Publisher.
  • Postpartum depressionclarifying your doubts. By Erika Harvey. Ágora Publisher.
  • After giving birth, the pain. My experience with postpartum depression. By Brooke Shields. Editora Ediouro.

If you identify with the symptoms we point out in this text — or know someone who thinks they are experiencing such difficulties —, understand that we are talking about a medical condition, which requires diagnosis and specific treatment. And the sooner professional help is provided, the better the results.

Realizing and accepting that something is wrong is not a sign of weakness. On the contrary, it represents a courageous attitude, essential for postpartum depression to be overcome.

“If you had diabetes, you wouldn’t deny yourself insulin. Postpartum depression is a real illness. Don’t deny yourself treatment.”

How Important Is Mental Health Care?

Throughout our lives, we all experience positive and negative emotions. Mental health helps people manage these emotions appropriately and lead balanced lives. Mental health is also important for fulfilling personal and professional obligations. How can I help someone with postpartum depression?

For young mothers, this care is even more important, as the mother’s health directly influences the child’s quality of life, both physically and mentally.

Treatment for post-partum depression includes antidepressant medication and therapy. These measures help reduce the negative effects of the illness and improve the family’s quality of life.

Men can also suffer from depression during this period. In this case, it is recommended that both parents receive treatment, which may include couple therapy to complement traditional treatment.

To Wind Up

We have concluded how to help someone with postpartum depression. When seeking help, it’s important to find an experienced psychiatrist and work with a multidisciplinary team. At Brainpower Wellness Institute, patients can count not only on qualified professionals but also on complementary measures such as therapy, well-equipped rooms, and relaxing social spaces.

If you know someone who has suffered from postnatal depression, or if you think you may have suffered from postnatal depression and need help, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We have a wealth of experience and can help.

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