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National Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week: How to manage postpartum depression

After the birth of her child, Miranda suffered from chronic depression, which was apparent by her mood swings and clear neglect of her baby. However, her husband Matt had a difficult time comprehending what was wrong with her.

Miranda and Matt had longed for a child since the last decade and finally, they had their bundle of joy. But, Miranda was unable to express how she felt. When her depression worsened, one of her friends took her to a doctor who diagnosed her with a serious case of post-partum depression (PPD).

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly one in nine women suffer from PPD in the U.S. alone. In order to raise awareness about the mental health complications of pregnancy and motherhood, the National Coalition for Maternal Mental Health (NCMMH) started observing the National Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week from May 1 to 7.

This year, the theme of the event is Connect the Dots which calls for greater cohesion between providers, users and various organizations to combat PPD. The event coincides with the Mental Health Awareness Month, observed in May every year.

What is PPD?

Post-partum depression or PPD develops after childbirth. It is manifested by some characteristic symptoms such as crying frequently and feelings of withdrawal from loved ones, numbness towards the baby, doubt about parenting skills and anger. Women who conceive with difficulty, give birth to a stillborn, undergo a preterm delivery, lack support at home or get pregnant during their teen years are at a higher risk of developing PPD.

However, having PPD does not mean that one is a bad mother. Since many women are caught off guard by PPD, they struggle with the condition and do not know how to manage it.

However, since PPD is a common phenomenon, any woman preparing for pregnancy should become awareness of it and take steps to counter it, in case she faces it. Listed below are some tips, which can help a woman navigate through PPD smoothly and enjoy motherhood.

Self-care: Having a child is probably one of the most beautiful feelings in the world, however, that does not mean that the mother has to devote all her waking hours to the child. After making proper arrangements for the child, a mother should dedicate a couple of hours to herself when she can bathe, read something, listen to some music or indulge in any other activity that helps her relax. This can be invigorating for a new mom.

Meet others moms: One must understand that PPD is very common. Therefore, it would be helpful to occasionally meet up with other new mothers. One can meet them during a massage session, while shopping or over a cup of tea. This will help in bonding with other moms and also understand their strategies for coping with PPD as well as their new life with a baby.

Exercise and eat healthy: A new mom may not be able to squeeze out sufficient time for a workout session. However, just walking outside in the open air for some time, with the baby in the stroller, can be refreshing. In addition, since a new mom breastfeeds her child, it is important that she takes a wholesome diet to ensure the overall well-being of her child and herself. She must get a diet chart prepared by her obstetrician, lactation expert or a dietitian.

Welcome help: A new mom needs a lot of help to manage household chores, take care of the older children, cook, etc. Therefore, she must request for or welcome any help that she receives from any quarter, i.e., from spouse, in-laws, parents, siblings, friends or domestic help.

New mother should seek help for PPD

Sometimes PPD can get so overwhelming that a woman may feel incapacitated in attending to her child or doing anything else. In such a scenario, one must reach out for professional support as early as possible to alleviate the symptoms.

Your child needs you more than anything else in the world and for the benefit of his/her health, you must seek support at a mental health treatment center.

Sovereign Health is one of the best mental health treatment centers in the U.S. To know more about our facilities, treatment programs, luncheons, alumni gatherings, webinars, etc. call our 24/7 helpline number 855-969-5557. You can also chat online with our experts for more information and to register yourself. Remember, you are not alone.

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