Postpartum depression isn't a myth
Most people think that postpartum depression is a myth. What's a new mother got to be depressed about? Everybody knows that pregnant women look forward to the day when they can cuddle their bundle of joy and seriously get down to the business of mothering. The reality is that postpartum depression is a common occurrence, though many women who experience it aren't willing to admit it. For some women it's over in a few days and they've soon forgotten about it. Some women are depressed for months. If a woman is experiencing postpartum depression, she has nothing to be ashamed of. She just needs to take steps to deal with it.
The first few days
Some women feel teary and sad in the hospital itself, almost immediately after delivery. Maybe it's just the sterile hospital environment or the fact that there are too few or too many visitors. In such cases, the family should find out if an early discharge is possible and either curb or increase the number of visitors depending on the new mother's preference.
Women are bound to feel exhausted after delivery. Their muscles ache; they have difficulty urinating and may even be constipated; their nipples feel sore…Definitely not in the best physical condition. In these circumstances, a new mother should not be attempting to play superwoman. They shouldn't try to do everything themselves. They should grab the opportunity to put their feet up and even catch a nap when the baby is feeding and sleeping. It is important that they rest and recuperate their energy. In order to do so, they should follow a proper diet and do some exercise after consulting their doctors.
A new baby becomes the focus of everyone's attention. Everybody spends their time cooing at and cuddling the new addition to the family and somehow the new mother becomes yesterday's news. It's only natural that she'll feel a little resentment considering that delivering the baby can hardly be considered a walk in the park. It is all right for new mothers to demand a little attention from their husbands and family. Don't hesitate to ask for help with the baby and the household chores. If there is no family or neighbours around to help, hiring help is a good idea if it fits in the budget.
Sometimes it also helps to discuss your frustration and depression with other new mothers. People feel better if they think that they're not alone and if they have a chance to air their grievances to a sympathetic audience.
Women often feel that new motherhood entitles them to become sloppy about their appearance. They don't realize that if they are bathed, dressed and groomed, they'll feel better about themselves. It may help if they got out of the house, (preferably without the baby if they can arrange it), and go out window-shopping, or meet a friend for lunch and a movie.
They need to make some time for themselves when they can stop playing mother and just be themselves. They could go out for dinner to their favourite restaurant with their husbands or pamper themselves with a massage or a pedicure or a good book.
Seeking professional help
All the above measures should help to alleviate feelings of sadness and frustration in a new mother. However, for some women nothing seems to lift them out of the dumps. They are listless; they show no interest in the new baby or the rest of the family; they feel suicidal or have thoughts about harming the baby. In such cases, these women should seek professional help immediately because this depression is not going to just go away by ignoring it or trying to jolly them out of it.