Babies wake frequently at night. It’s how they are made. This creates a true challenge and struggle for the parents who must be up many times per night taking care of their baby. It’s challenging enough to tend to a wakeful baby, let alone do it when you yourself are desperately sleep deprived. It’s hard for any parent to deal with a baby’s sleeplessness, but it can be overwhelming if you are suffering from postpartum depression (PPD).
Postpartum Depression is a medical condition that occurs in the first few months after childbirth. It is caused by biochemical and hormonal changes that happen after pregnancy and delivery.
While PPD affects all women differently, and in varying degrees, some typical symptoms can help your physician make the diagnosis. You probably are not experiencing everything on the following list, and the degree of symptoms may range from mild to severe, but if a number of these apply to you, you may be suffering from PPD, and should give your doctor a call.
Symptoms of postpartum depression may include but are not limited to:
- Feeling hopeless, worthless or inadequate
- Frequent crying or tearfulness
- Lack of energy
- Loss of pleasure in activities you normally enjoy
- Difficulty doing typical daily chores
- Loss of appetite
- Feelings of sadness, despair, guilt, panic or confusion
- Extreme mood swings or feelings of anger or anxiety
- Memory loss
- Overconcern for baby’s safety
- Fear of losing control
- Worrying that you may hurt your baby
- A desire to escape from your baby or your family
- Withdrawal from social circles and routines
- Thoughts about hurting yourself
If you suffer from any of these symptoms of postpartum depression, particularly thoughts about hurting yourself or your baby, then please call a doctor today. Right now. Your condition requires immediate medical care, and a doctor can help you. If you can’t make the call, then please talk to your partner, your mother or father, a sibling or close friend and ask them to help you arrange for help. Do this for yourself and for your baby. If you can’t talk about it, rip this page out and hand it to someone close to you. It’s that important. You do not have to feel this way.
“In the time it takes you to read this chapter, you could set up an appointment with a doctor. Remember, [postpartum depression] is a medical problem and it can be serious; for your sake, for your baby, and for all those who love you, you must make that call. With help, you will regain your life and your perspective.”
~ Vanessa, mother of Kimmy (12) Tyler (10) Rachel (5) and Zachary (3)
Related article: Why is my baby crying?
How to take care of yourself
It’s hard to make your self-care important when you are responsible for a new little life. But basic self-care will help you be a better parent — and it can help alleviate postpartum depression. This means getting adequate sleep, eating right and fitting in some exercise – even if that’s a walk around the block with your baby in a carrier or stroller.
Make sure you nap in the early weeks whenever you have the opportunity. If you get a nap – even if it’s a short one – you will have more ability to get through your days and enjoy your baby. Other adults who love you and your baby will likely offer to watch the little one so you can fit in a snooze. Take them up on the offer! It’s also a kind gesture to let grandparents, auntie or your best friend have a bit of time with the baby. If you don’t have help, make sure you occasionally snooze when baby is napping.
Eating healthy good is important now, but eat simple meals, since trying to cook and bake might add extra stress to your already overwhelmed schedule. Don’t worry so much about the housework, the most important thing the first couple of months is getting you and baby in sync and on a routine that is good for both of you.
Important tip if you have postpartum depression: accept help when offered
If you have postpartum depression, be open when someone who loves you offers to help out. Gently let them know what you need when they offer: a nap, a meal, a load of laundry? People who care about you genuinely want to help out, so when they ask what they can do, say, “That’s wonderful of you to offer! Do you mind doing a load of laundry for me?” or “You’re a lifesaver! Is it okay if I take a shower, and maybe a short nap?”
Taking care of yourself is part of taking care of your new baby. So be the best parent you can be – healthy and happy. THE NO-CRY SLEEP SOLUTION: Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep through the Night
This article was originally published on the author’s blog.
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