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Preventing and Coping with Postpartum Depression

Preventing and Coping with Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression is the type of thing that every woman has heard of, but many don’t expect it to happen to them, and even more are unsure of how to go about dealing with the condition once they find out they have it. In truth, postpartum depression is an incredibly common state of affairs.

Somewhere between ten and twenty-five percent of women wind up struggling with it once they give birth to their first child, and the chances of developing this condition increase in women with a personal or family history of depression. Although it can seem overwhelming when you find that it’s happening to you or someone you love, it’s important to realize that there are many things you can do to deal with it, help minimize the effects, and even lower the likelihood of it occurring in the first place.

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Understanding the Difference Between “Baby Blues” and Postpartum Depression

Pretty much every woman will experience some degree of what’s commonly known as “baby blues” after giving birth. This is especially the case for first time mothers, but it can actually happen to any woman. Giving birth is incredibly difficult, as is transitioning to a new state of affairs when it comes to your family. Plus, there are the hormonal issues to consider for the new mom: she will definitely feel anxious, irritable, and even completely overwhelmed at times, and that’s perfectly normal.

Nevertheless, it’s important to understand that “baby blues” typically only last about a week. Once the mother transitions and her hormone levels stabilize, she will gradually feel much better, but women who sink into postpartum depression will experience increasingly longer bouts of sadness and hopelessness. If your baby blues don’t seem to be improving on their own, and if they seem to be worsening, you should speak to your doctor about possible treatment options.

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Lowering the Likelihood of Developing Postpartum Depression

Although postpartum depression isn’t the sort of thing that is avoidable altogether because of the hormonal factors involved in pregnancy recovery, it’s important to understand that taking care of yourself and giving yourself a little room to breathe and adjust can really help a lot.

To begin with, make sure you learn as much as possible about how to make a smooth recovery after giving birth. Ask your doctor for advice, and maybe even pick the brains of your friends for suggestions on how to cope. Get plenty of rest, and allow yourself to heal. Be sure to let your partner and your family help you out during this delicate time in your life so that you have plenty of time to bond with your baby and take care of your body.

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Don’t force yourself to do too much too soon—like seeing visitors or jumping right back into maintaining your social life. Definitely don’t psych yourself into believing that you’re a bad mother if you find you’re dealing with postpartum depression. You’re not! Being overwhelmed and needing time to adjust is something every woman goes through to some degree.

Speak to Your Doctor About Your Options

If you think you might be dealing with postpartum depression, it’s important to not just tough it out. Schedule a visit with your doctor to talk about what’s going on and explore your options. He or she may suggest dietary or routine changes that can help you get on top of things, or you may also be prescribed a course of anti-depressants to help you get over the hump. Whatever the right solution may be for you, it definitely pays off to ask for help sooner rather than later.

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Featured photo credit:  Young mother looking out from the window with her baby via Shutterstock

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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