Help for the Mom with Postpartum Depression
Feeling depressed is usually contributed to the “baby blues”.
The “baby blues” includes mood swings, crying, difficulty sleeping, and anxiety. But after 2-3 weeks these symptoms usually disappear.
However, some women experience more severe feelings of depression that last longer, known as postpartum depression (PPD).
Postpartum depression can be caused by several physical and emotional feelings or problems.
MayoClinic says, “After childbirth, a dramatic drop in hormones (estrogen and progesterone) in your body may contribute to postpartum depression. Other hormones produced by your thyroid gland also may drop sharply — which can leave you feeling tired, sluggish and depressed…
When you’re sleep deprived and overwhelmed, you may have trouble handling even minor problems. You may be anxious about your ability to care for a newborn. You may feel less attractive, struggle with your sense of identity or feel that you’ve lost control over your life. Any of these issues can contribute to postpartum depression.” 
What are the Signs of Postpartum Depression?
- Feeling extremely overwhelmed or worried all the time
- Wishing you hadn’t become a mom
- Feeling guilty about feeling that way
- Not being able to bond with your new baby
- Feeling very frustrated, confused, or afraid much of the time
- Having no patience
- Feeling hopeless or emptiness
- Having trouble concentrating or focusing
- Being extremely tired
- Feeling withdrawn or disconnected from family and friends
- Feeling like you don’t want to reach out for help
If left Untreated, can Postpartum Depression affect your Family and their Future?
Unfortunately yes; if depression is left untreated, other people can be affected, including your baby. Furthermore, if a woman decides not to ask for help or see a doctor, the chances of her postpartum depression developing into chronic depressive disorder are higher.
As you can probably imagine, postpartum depression affects your relationship with your baby. And it’s been shown that the children of women who were not treated for their postpartum depression are actually more likely to have emotional and behavioral problems as they get older, including: trouble sleeping and eating, excessive crying, ADHD, and delay in language development.
Untreated postpartum depression can also affect your husband. Depression, of any kind, tends to have a ripple effect. Therefore causing emotional strain on everyone close to you and the baby. So if a woman doesn’t get help for her postpartum depression, the risk of her husband developing depression also increases.
5 Things to do if you have Postpartum Depression
1) Get Help
If you are feeling depressed, are experiencing many of the signs of PPD listed above, and have been feeling that way for more than 2-3 weeks, it’s time to call your doctor. There are options for you whether you breastfeed or formula feed.
Also, meeting with a counselor may be a wise option. You don’t have to suffer alone or in silence.
Another option is to join a postpartum support group; here is a good resource to find one in your area. People are naturally social beings, so seeing and talking with other women who are feeling the same way you do, may be very beneficial.
2) Try Natural Supplements
There are several natural supplements that help with depression including: 5-HTP, SAMe, vitamin D3, vitamin B complex, and omega-3 fatty acids.
You can read all about those natural supplements, including the studies showing they help with depression (some have been shown to help as much as antidepressant drugs), as well as what brands I recommend, here.
And remember to talk to your doctor before taking them, especially if you’re breastfeeding.
3) Eat Healthy
Eating healthy provides your body with the vitamins and minerals it needs. As stated above, vitamin B complex has been shown to relieve feelings of depression. And thankfully, God has provided us with many natural sources of B vitamins. Here are some:
- B1 (thiamine): whole grains, kale, spinach, peanuts, and wheat germ
- B2 (riboflavin): almonds, milk, yogurt, eggs, and spinach
- B3 (niacin): yeast, milk, eggs, green vegetables, and beans
- B5 (pantothenic acid): avocados, yogurt, eggs, legumes, and meat
- B6 (pyridoxine): meats like chicken, turkey, salmon, and tuna; sunflower seeds, brown rice, and carrots
- B7 (biotin): barley, liver, pork, chicken, fish, nuts, potatoes, and egg yolks
- B9 (folate): dark leafy greens, beets, salmon, milk, and beans
- B12 (cobalamin): fish, dairy, eggs, pork, and beef
You can read my article, 5 Natural Supplements that Help with Depression, for more information.
4) Get outside
Just getting out in the sun can be a big help for relieving feelings of depression. When our skin is exposed to the sunlight, we produce vitamin D.
And vitamin D not only helps us mentally, but physically as well. This powerful vitamin enhances the immune system and prevents many health problems. 
Furthermore, regular outdoor activity has also been shown to increase concentration and raise serotonin levels.
As I state in my article, Proof being Outside is Awesome for your Health, “Serotonin is a hormone that makes you feel happy. So if your levels are too low it can contribute to feeling depressed. From Progressive Health, ‘Serotonin exerts its major effects on the parts of the brain responsible for controlling mood, appetite, sexual desire and performance, sleep, memory, learning, social interactions and temperature regulation. However, outside the brain, serotonin also affects the cardiovascular system, the endocrine system and muscles. It has even been found to contribute to the regulation of milk production in the breast.’” 
When you exercise, especially outside, endorphins are released. “Endorphins are chemicals in the body that are produced with intense exercise, emotional stress, and pain.
These chemicals help to decrease feelings of pain and increase positive feelings. Endorphins are often referred to as your body’s ‘natural painkillers’.
Exercising outside for 30-45 minutes is best when trying to produce endorphins.” 
Becoming responsible for another life can be overwhelming; and even though that life is precious and a blessing, there are challenges for both you and your husband.
So you have no reason to feel guilty for feeling depressed. And don’t forget that asking for help is brave.
Also, if you are having thoughts about harming yourself or your baby, if you’re feeling paranoid, or severely afraid of something, get help from a professional now so you can feel better and safer.
Postpartum depression isn’t a sign of weakness or a character flaw. And it’s a fairly common experience among women. In fact, about 10-15% of new moms develop postpartum depression. You’re not alone.
Finally, it’s so important to get help so you can feel like yourself again and enjoy your new baby! 🙂
http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/postpartum-depression/basics/causes/con-20029130  http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/postpartum-depression/basics/complications/con-20029130
http://www.healthfaithstrength.com/5-natural-supplements-depression/  http://www.healthfaithstrength.com/outside-is-awesome-for-health/