Postpartum Depression, or PPD, is a form of depression specific to the new mother. According to the American Psychology Association, about one in seven women face PPD -- a much more serious issue the more common “baby blues.” PPD can actually begin before giving birth, which means seeking treatment as soon as you notice something is amiss is extremely important. This is particularly true because the sooner treatment begins, the more effective it tends to be. Among other things, good sources of support are crucial to overcoming PPD. Here are a few great ways to find help if you’re facing PPD.
Mental Health Professional
The first step in finding support should be to a nearby psychology or counseling office. These professionals are trained to help people in a variety of mental health positions, from mildly stressed to totally freaking out. With your counselor, a course of action can be decided, including different types of talk therapy and exercises or activities to improve your situation a step at a time. Additionally, these healthcare workers can be a great source of information for other forms of support in your area or online.
When you’re managing the symptoms of PPD, it can be hard to get out of bed – nevermind hunt down a playdate for your newborn. However, finding an adult going through the same life changes you are can be a great way to find alternative means of handling your situation, and it gives you a sort of baseline to see if what you’re feeling is normal or more likely to be PPD. Enrolling in Mommy and Me classes or going to the park with an existing mom-friend can help return you to a sense of normalcy. You may not feel normal, but doing normal things can help you feel like you might be someday.
Making Time for Mommy
Another option is calling in your family. Your new baby’s grandparents have been dying for the opportunity to take that bundle of love off your hands. Likewise, if you aren’t getting the support you need from your partner, have a serious conversation about what you do need. For moms of newborns with colic, who are born prematurely, or have other complications that increase the responsibility, just having an hour or two to yourself can do wonders. Take a nap, make a list of priorities, read a book -- whatever you want to do! Make time to do the things you know you enjoy. Try to avoid taking too much time for yourself, however, because isolation can be detrimental. All the same, just because you are a mom doesn’t mean you are only a mom.
Professional Infant Support
Some doulas continue providing services after the baby’s birth. A doula can help you with all aspects of baby care, from feedings to changing diapers, helping with lactation issues, and even make meals or set up a crib. She can also answer a lot of questions about newborns and help you figure out if you’re dealing with more than the baby blues. However, keep in mind that doulas are not mental health professionals, and a psychologist is usually a better bet.
PPD Mom Support Groups
Finding other women facing the same issues can be a fantastic benefit. Whether you can find a support group in your community or an online alternative, these women are facing the same challenges or have already gone through them. Group discussions and forums are great places for uncomfortable questions and allow you to connect to other new parents -- with or without PPD. Support groups remind women with PPD that they are not alone, are not the only ones to ever feel this way, and are not at fault.