Authored by: Jenipher Adeke
Parturition of a child can start rolling a mixed bag of strong emotions, from the thrill and happiness of beholding a newborn to feeling scared and distressed. This can also pan out to be more than you signed up for, an illness of depression.
When this depression is serious and persistent, it is known as postpartum depression. It’s commonly known as baby blues and the majority of first-time moms encounter postpartum depression after giving birth. It manifests in various ways such as difficulty in sleeping, anxiety, crying spells, negative maternal attitude, and poor parenting self-efficacy among other symptoms.
Information availed by the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research inserts that, this begins in a reach of the first two to three days after delivery and could possibly last for a fortnight. First-time mothers require lots of support in those beginning weeks. According to Health Canada, 7.5% of new moms undergo depressive symptoms in the postpartum period. This period involves moving through many changes, both emotional and physical. Some may tend to miss this as it is mistaken for a dent in a mom’s character. One needs to understand that it’s not a mother’s fault but plainly a serious hurdle of child delivery which can be conquered through treatment.
Postpartum depression requires expert assistance. Mothers with depression may not admit to being depressed. They might perhaps be blinded to signs and symptoms of depression. Mothers need help to seek medical attention immediately at the onset of symptoms. The treatment for postpartum depression is for a professional to go about. Nevertheless, here are a few sure ways you can help a mother on her journey to healing.
Do not take offense
Perceive that postpartum depression creates an army of emotions. A mother may exhibit anger, express dissatisfaction and she can even turn off association. Immediately upon recognising this, make an effort to keep things in perspective. Strive not to take offense.
Jerry Cantrell once wrote, “Part of the healing process is sharing with other people who care.”
It’s always helpful to talk things over with someone you trust. Similarly, a mom needs to talk to someone about these baby blue feelings. Pay attention and let her express her emotions. Refrain from fault- finding and talking more than she does. The fact that you are willing to listen can give her an assurance that she is not alone.
Help her relax and rest.
Having a newborn while trying to be a perfect homemaker may prove to be a job in the mines. “Offer a mother to carry the baby while she takes a nap or go out for a few minutes,” advises one thirty-year-old mother of one from Kenya. The body and spirit need a good night’s sleep. Resting is paramount. Some babies don’t sleep for long periods, this means the mother has to inevitably stay up longer than usual. It’s exhausting. You can help her catch up with sleep while you take charge of the baby as this also makes her feel herself again. A soothing massage may also prove to be very relaxing fo the mother. A postnatal massage can do wonders. According to Motherhood Center Houston, a postnatal massage restores muscle tone in the abdomen and provides firm pressure to reposition the pelvic.
Slice the chores
If family members and friends have enlisted their support, chores can be sliced among them. The mom will need lots of energy for her and the baby. If this energy is divided up for the baby and house chores, it may tend to be overwhelming. Some mothers may feel inadequate at this point. It’s helpful to maintain a voice of reassurance. Tell her something appreciative like, “You are the best mom,” and mean it. Reassure her too that the treatment works and she will feel better again.
In our fast-paced world where it seems everyone is out there doing something, it’s easy to leave a mother at home feeling lonely and isolated. It is more depressing to have family and friends living further away. Make regular visits to check on a mom and the baby. Having someone around makes a difference. Call her up. A new mom may find no time checking up on friends because of the baby-job added on her collar.
A fine dine
The body goes through many changes during pregnancy and birth. After birth, it needs to recover. A healthy diet comes in handy to get the body back in shape. Help the mother make well-balanced meals while she feeds and nurses the baby. Give a hand in shopping food that will smile nutrients at the dining. There is no harm in bringing her favourite food along on a visit. The mother needs a balanced diet along with plenty of rest.
As luck would have it, healing from postpartum depression is possible. Like any other restorative journey. Key players like a spouse, family, neighbours, and friends are essential in making this happen. We all need to discern that this form of depression is no one’s fault. It’s also a necessity for new mothers and their dear ones to comprehend the symptoms, causes, and treatment for postpartum depression so that they can act accordingly. This resonates with David Hume’s well-known quote, “It’s when we start working together that the real healing takes place.”
For further reading on Postpartum depression: