Postpartum depression can be unexpected for new moms. As discussed in the last article, new parents often expect to grapple with the new challenges brought by an addition to the family unit with resiliency and composure. Moms may picture themselves as actively hiking and running with baby in the stroller or back carrier, but may end up having a different experience in reality. Sometimes just getting through daily routine is a huge accomplishment, and it can be hard to see that or recognize it when unmet expectations are coming up.
If there is a huge discrepancy between a new mom’s expectations and experience, then sadness, self-doubt and negative self-statements can result. It can also be common to miss symptoms of Peripartum (Depression during and after pregnancy) because of lack of awareness about it. So, what are some more ideas that can help a new mom who is experiencing peripartum depression, as well as, what can others do to support her? Here are some suggestions:
- Counseling- someone to talk to who will help uncover faulty beliefs and increase realistic goal setting, so that achievements can be experienced.
- Aromatherapy & Accupuncture for depressive symptoms
- Activities that involve movement- Yoga, Tai Chi, dancing, walking, exercise, etc. on a daily basis
- Time and conversations with supportive others- family, friends, therapist
- Relaxation- Massage, diaphragmatic breathing, hobbies, warm bath (“Calgon moment”)
- Relaxation exercises such as body scan (close eyes and scan through body from head to toe for tension & relaxation) and progressive muscle relaxation (tense & release each body muscle of body one at a time)
- Goals are simple and doable
- Developing a routine
- Combat negative thoughts by posting positive thoughts/self statements around home, reading affirmations to oneself and/or listening to affirmations
There are often support groups for depressive symptoms in the community. A local support group for Peripartum depression can be helpful, as well as, Mind Body Medicine groups. Mind Body Medicine groups can be helpful to address depressive symptoms and learn coping skills to foster resilience to life stressors. A Counselor who is available online (such as through Breakthrough.com) can help support a mother in her own home when it is difficult to arrange childcare. It is also a good match for moms who enjoy social networking or who are experienced with video chatting. The new mom would need to make less arrangements, especially when she is already experiencing overwhelm, to get her counseling support via an online site. In terms of streamlining a new mom’s lifestyle this is one way to eliminate a number of transitions.
Breastfeeding Support: La Leche League (website: -Breastfeeding resource where you can go 24 hrs. a day to get answers on all breastfeeding related topics
Mindfulness Websites with free guided audios:
(go to self-care link & then select “Soft Belly Meditation” use green link, not podcast to get to the “view slideshow link” to get to the 4 minute diaphragmatic breathing meditation)
& then search “guided imagery” & select “podcasts.” This website includes positive affirmations in some of the guided imagery links.