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  • Writer's pictureK.C. Dreisbach, LMFT

Is Postpartum Depression Curable?



Many men and women suffer from postpartum depression, or another Perinatal Mood Anxiety Disorder (PMAD). In fact, approximately 10% of dads and 15% of moms will suffer from postpartum depression. Symptoms include:


> Crying spells

> Sad or depressed mood most days of week for most of the day

> Feelings of guilt, shame, or hopelessness

> Being irritable or feeling angry often

> Thoughts of harming yourself or the baby


These are just some of the symptoms you might experience, and the effects of a PMAD can include conflicts in your relationships, poor attachment to the baby, and even suicide or infanticide.


The good news is, postpartum depression is very treatable, and you don't have to suffer forever!


Can Postpartum Depression be Cured?


The answer: YES! PMADs are very treatable and many men and women make a full recovery from their postpartum depression. The key is getting help as soon as you suspect you may have perinatal depression.


To help you on your journey to feeling better and becoming the best mom (or dad) you can be, I'm going to give you some tips you can begin implementing TODAY to help you feel better. I'll also give you some resources at the end of this post to assist you in finding the right support and the help you need to make a full recovery!


Let's look at some strategies you can begin implementing right away to help lessen your symptoms.


Self-Care Practices to Treat Postpartum Depression


Self-care is one of the most important things we need to work on as moms, and it is a cornerstone to a healthy body, positive mental health, and an overall happy life. There are a lot of different components to self-care, but we’re going to discuss some items that you can start doing today to help yourself feel better!


Many of these tips are used in the professional treatment of PMADs. So, if you begin implementing these right now, you'll be on your way to better mental health!


1. Sleep


Sleep deprivation is one of the biggest contributing factors to Perinatal Depression and other PMADs. Sleep deprivation causes your physical body and your mental state to slowly break down over time. Folks who are severely sleep deprived oftentimes will experience auditory and visual hallucinations too! Can you imagine trying to take care of your kids while hearing voices or seeing shadows constantly?


Sleep is pivotal in helping you manage your emotions. If you’re not getting at least 6-8 hours of sleep every night, it’s time to make this a priority! How you do this will depend on your schedule, family dynamics, whether you work or stay home, etc. However you do it, you need to make sure you’re getting some Zzz’s. If you want ideas on how to fit more sleep into your schedule, check out my book, “Trials of the Working Parent,” for ideas on how to manage this.


2. Diet


Sugar, caffeine, and fast food are quick sources of energy, but have little nutritional value. The result is a tired and cranky Mommy. You should be aiming to eat nutritious foods as much as possible. And if you’re breastfeeding or expressing breastmilk, this is even more imperative since your diet is also the diet you are feeding your baby.


Try to eat your fruits, vegetables and proteins every day, as best as possible. Do your best not to skip meals since this messes with your blood sugar and can cause mood swings. Finally, stay away from fad-diets!


If you don’t have time to eat in the morning, consider having a protein shake that you can drink on your way to the market. Or, perhaps grab a hardboiled egg that you can eat quickly when you're in a hurry. You may also want to talk to your doctor about adding vitamins to your diet or getting a referral to see a nutritionist.


3. Basic Hygiene


Please take your showers! There is nothing so basic as getting a bath into your schedule. Every woman wants to feel clean! But how many of us go several days without showering and then rely on deodorant, body spray, and a messy bun to get us through another day? I’m guilty!


Trust me, sacrifice the 5 minutes of extra sleep to squeeze in a shower so that you can still feel like a woman when you’re wiping up a poopy butt!


4. Movement


Move your body. This might sound silly, but getting some form of regular physical activity into your daily schedule can help decrease stress and anxiety while elevating mood.


If you can squeeze in a trip to the gym, then go for it! But it doesn't need to be this either. There's lots of ways to sneak in some movement throughout your day! Consider some of these ideas:

> Do some aerobics or yoga in your family room with your toddler romping around with you.


> Play Simon Says with your kids! You play the role of Simon and get your body moving with jumping jacks, crunches, Toe-ups, and different stretches. Your kids will love being played with while you secretly get in some exercise!


> Take a walk with your baby around the block.


> Go up and down the stairs in your home or apartment complex a few times.


> Have a dance party! My family loves this one. I'll play music nice and loud and we all dance around the house. When I had an infant, I would just hold my baby and dance with him. This one is also great because (just like Simon Says) you're fitting in quality time with your kids and getting some movement.


However you decide to do it, just get moving! Shoot for incorporating it into your routine a couple of times a week for a few minutes in the beginning. Then, see if you can up it to daily. Exercise releases tons of endorphins into your brain, which helps you feel good and happy, while also burning off the stress hormone (cortisol).


5. Get Support


It’s important for adults to have adult conversations, and part of this is getting some time to vent and let off steam. Most folks will lean on their partner, but sometimes that person is not emotionally available. This is when you need to reach out to a Mom’s Group, Postpartum Group, family members, friends, or a therapist.


The important part to remember is that you want to avoid isolation. You need to break out of the little cocoon you're wrapped up in and let yourself come out! You don't have to do this alone. So find some support and actually use it!


Postpartum Depression is Real


As much as I hate to say it, Postpartum Depression is real, and haunts the lives of so many women (and men) every day! But as we've learned, it is treatable, and there are simple steps you can take right this second to help yourself get better.


Of course, don't be afraid to ask for help from a professional. There are therapists and doctors that specialize in the treatment of PMADs, and you'll find that getting this extra layer of support will do wonders for you and your family. There's no need to suffer another day.


If you're ready to get help, then give me a call. As a therapist, I specialize in anxiety and depression, and I have the additional training needed to treat Postpartum Depression and Postpartum Anxiety. Call me today, schedule your free 15-minute consultation, and learn how I can help you on your way to great emotional health.


If you would like to learn more about PMADs or seek other forms of support, check out the resources I have collected for you at the end of this article.


As always, I wish you the best on your journey!


 

Perinatal Mental Health Resources


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Krystal Dreisbach is a licensed therapist, mindset coach, adjunct professor of counseling, and published author.  Her specialties include depression treatment, anxiety counseling, stress management support, and mindset coaching.  Learn more about Krystal and see how she can help you live a better life.

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