There are lots of ways to be a good mom with postpartum depression. Postpartum depression is a tough condition to deal with. The symptoms include overwhelming feelings of sadness and anger as well as withdrawing from loved ones. It can also be extremely difficult to bond with baby and many women come to resent their children or blame them for putting them in this position. Women often feel like bad mothers, despite the fact that none of this is their fault. Here are 10 ways to be a good mom with postpartum depression.
1. Don't Deny Your Feelings
It can be hard to know for sure if you have postpartum depression since it manifests in different ways. But if you feel like something just isn't right, it's important to speak up about it. Denial about the fact that you could be suffering from a maternal mental health disorder will make the condition worse and lead to a lot of built up negativity, which won't be good for anyone. If you want to be a good mom, it's important to admit that you are suffering because that's one of the best ways to be a good mom with postpartum depression.
2. Ask for Help
This is the hardest one on the list because moms hate having to ask for help. But it's so important for a mom with postpartum depression to accept help from others and not try to take on everything by themselves. Postpartum depression is an exhausting condition and it's almost impossible to get everything done in a day without burning out. If you don't have enough support from your spouse, family or friends, you can look into hiring a postpartum doula or night nurse.
3. Seek Treatment
If you want to get better, you will need some kind of a treatment plan. If you're concerned about taking antidepressants or if you're breastfeeding, then know there are plenty of natural treatment options as well. Even online therapists are available, which is convenient and private. Postpartum depression will not just go away on its own like a common case of the baby blues. Talk to a doctor, nurse, midwife, doula or other health professional about which treatment option is best for you.
4. Take Care of Yourself
It's not all about the baby; mom needs to take care of herself too. If you want to be a good mom and be there for your kids, it sometimes means having to take a little bit of time away from them to take care of you. It doesn't have to be anything big, like a spa day, but it has to be something just for you. So many moms don't even take a shower most days because they don't have time, energy or motivation. So set aside some time each day to just take the shower!
5. Replace Rage with Laughter
Anger and rage are one of the scariest symptoms of postpartum depression and it can be scary for children involved to see their mom lose her temper. If you're worried about the effects that your rage will have on your children, then consider laughing instead of screaming when you feel like you're about to lose control. It might make you look like a crazy person in an insane asylum but it's far less scary for the kids. Laughter can also release all that built up tension in the same way that rage does.
6. Get Enough Sleep
This is a tough one because sleep is almost impossible with a new baby. To make matters worse, postpartum depression can often cause insomnia. You may need to call in backup to help you get the sleep you need because sleep deprivation truly does make postpartum depression so much worse. Sleep should be your number one priority when battling postpartum depression.
7. Eat Properly
It's funny how we encourage healthy eating habits for our kids but then stuff our faces with a bag of potato chips after they go to bed. What we eat has a huge effect on our mental health. Emotional eaters may have an especially tough time with this one because junk food is comforting. But cutting out the amount of junk in our diet will not only put us in a better state, but it will also make us good role models for our children.
8. Keep a Journal or Photo Album
Writing about our postpartum journey is a great stress reliever and a way to release those feelings we're keeping hidden. And don't throw that journal away. Our children will be too young right now to completely understand everything, but when they're grown up, and perhaps parents of their own, you might want to let them read it to learn what it was really like for you. Make sure to take a lot of photos too. You may have a million pictures of your baby but make sure that you're in some of them too. And don't shy away from the real, raw, unshowered, leaky boob pictures either - those ones will be cherished when you're past the thick of things.
9. Talk to Your Kids
It's ok to talk to your kids about mental health issues - in fact, it's encouraged. Choose a way to explain to them why you are the way you are in words that are appropriate for their age. The last thing you want is for your children to feel like your condition is somehow their fault. Postpartum depression was never really talked about among past generations and therefore left many mothers unprepared in our day and age. Do your kids a favor and explain to them what it's all about, hopefully creating a new generation of more empathetic and understanding humans.
10. Don't Give up
Postpartum depression can last for years. And then it can get better and come back again. If you have been fighting the good fight for a long time with no end in sight, don't give up. Your children are NOT better off without you. It may feel like your existence is pointless some days, but you created human beings - you created a miracle, and those miracles need you to thrive. The best way to be a good mom is to just be there for them, postpartum depression and all.