New motherhood is supposed to be a sacred time. But when
postpartum depression hits, it can feel like something
you might not survive.
Here are just seven tips for getting through the dark days:
Know you’re not alone. One of the loneliest
times of my life was when I was going through postpartum depression. But
according to the American
Psychological Association, 1 in 7 women experience some form of postpartum
mood disorder. Postpartum Progress
is full of resources on postpartum depression, anxiety and other mood
disorders. The site offers a bevy of articles as well as links to other
resources. You can even sign up to receive a daily email with
inspiring words to help get you through the day.
2. Find a support
group. Online resources are wonderful, but in-person support can be even
more helpful. When I found a support group for other women struggling with
adjusting to new motherhood, I felt immense relief. Hearing other women sharing
about the same feelings I was having helped so much. I wasn’t alone, and I
wasn’t crazy. And seeing that some of these women were recovering from
depression and anxiety gave me hope that things would get better.
3. Consider medication. Choosing whether or not to
take or increase meds is a very personal choice, and one you can discuss with
your healthcare provider. For me, a bump in my antidepressants boosted me out
of the darkest of my postpartum depression and gave me the energy to look for
Let your friends and family know you need help—they will likely be glad to do so.
4. Find a therapist. A supportive therapist—especially
one who is well-versed in postpartum issues—can be a real lifeline. This
list can help you find someone who can offer one-on-one support.
5. Rally all the help you can. Asking for help can
be hard, but think about it this way: you just had a baby. And you are dealing
with a legitimate illness. With these two huge things on your plate, you are so
deserving of extra help. Let your friends and family know you need help—they
will likely be glad to do so. If you don’t have supportive family or friends
nearby and you can afford it, consider hiring a postpartum doula. A doula can
give you a break from caring for your baby so you can take care of
yourself—catch up on sleep, go for a walk, or anything else that supports your
6. Remember: it’s not your fault. Postpartum
depression is bad enough without the added judgments that sometimes accompany
it. One of the most helpful things I heard was from a nursing assistant at my
midwives’ office. “You didn’t choose this,” she told me, looking straight into
my eyes. “This chose you. It’s not your fault.” Her words helped me think of my
depression as not something that I somehow caused, but rather something that
had happened to me, like any other unpleasant medical condition. It didn’t
eradicate the depression, but it reminded me that I wasn’t responsible for the descent
7. Know that this won’t last forever. It’s hard,
because depression distorts our ability to see things rationally. But I promise
you, there will be sacred times ahead. You won’t always feel like this.
May is Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month and we're coming together to embrace all mamas today and every day who are suffering or have suffered from PPD. We'd love to share how you overcame or are overcoming PPD with our readers. Tag us at#FACESOFPOSTPARTUM and#momdotme on Instagram andshare your story with us.