by Divya Chaturvedi Arora
I remember being an emotional mess after giving birth to my son, five years ago, ecstatic one minute and a puddle of tears the next. People kept telling me the low spirits, crying jags and mood swings would pass. The thing is, they didn’t.
By the time my son was three months old, I was living in a sleep deprived fog of anxiety and rage, overwhelmed by feelings of inadequacy, isolation and clawing negativity (Here are 11 truths nobody tells you about postpartum depression). When even my dog started giving me a wide berth, I knew I was turning into a monster and needed to do something.
A little online reading helped me realize I was probably dealing with #postpartum depression. I talked to friends and elders, read up, employed natural methods and waded through to the other side, with my sanity intact.
If you suspect you may also be suffering from #postpartumdepression, please know that it is a serious condition that requires professional diagnosis and medical help.
However, here are a few natural, safe ways that you can try to treat yourself:
1. Right Food:
Consume foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids like walnuts, flaxseed oil, cod liver oil and fish like mackerel and white tuna. They are believed to be good for fighting #depression.
Serotonin, the happy hormone that regulates moods, can be boosted in our body by certain foods like nuts, beans, chicken, turkey and oils of flax, almond and olive.
Vitamin B12, a known mood boosting nutrient is found in poultry, fish and dairy products.
Folic acid, found in green leafy vegetables, fish and beans is another wonder nutrient that keeps mood swings under check.
So dig in ladies, and root out the blues.
#Sleep deprivation and fatigue are killing you already; you are in a world of hurt from giving birth, and loath to add stiff muscles to the mix. Trust me, I know the feeling.
But if its six weeks since your baby arrived and the doctor’s given you the all clear, exercise is just what you need.
Physical exercise releases endorphins in the body, chemicals that dull your perception of pain, make you feel relaxed and full of energy.
It also gives you a sense of having accomplished something just for yourself, and when you care for a tiny human 24x7, you really need that kick.
Also, of course, it helps you shed some of that baby weight.
Start light and stretch lots. Walking and yoga could be a great way forward.
3. Essential Oils:
The olfactory sense is believed to be the strongest of our five senses. Aromatherapy uses this powerful sense to heal the body and mind with the use of essential oils. It is effective for many symptoms of postpartum depression.
Mood elevators like oils of lemon and wild orange help lift the spirits and foster a sense of positivity. Lavender and chamomile calm the mind, while bergamot and ylang ylang sooth the nerves, and alleviate anxiety.
These oils can be diffused in the air through common candle diffusers. They can also be added to bath water mixed in an emulsifier like milk or sesame oil to keep them from floating at the top. If used to massage in the body, a few drops should be added to carrier oils like olive, coconut or jojoba.
Remember, essential oils are extremely concentrated and too much can cause headache and nausea. Also, when applying directly on skin, it would be advisable to do a patch test.
Calming the mind is the key to dealing with #postpartum depression. As the anxiety quiets, sleep comes easier and you feel less irritable and angry. Slowly, with longer periods of regular meditation, a sense of inner wellbeing and positivity develops.
Start with a few minutes of closing your eyes and concentrating on your breathing. You may feel like it isn’t happening or not working in the beginning, but give it a few days.
You can meditate lying down or sitting, just about anywhere. If a certain time, place and position work for you, that's totally okay too.
5. Sleep Hygiene:
The right food, a little exercise, meditation and essential oils can all help you sleep better. But you will need to ensure that you cultivate some sort a snooze system.
Sleep when baby does during the night and catch at least one nap during the day. If you can figure in that nap at about the same time daily it will benefit your mind and body tremendously.
Ask someone to mind your house and baby for a couple of hours in the day while you take a bit of aromatherapy, meditate, and catch an hour of quality sleep.
In addition to the above, recreation, catching up with loved ones, and finding some adult company and conversation are also all absolutely necessary to your mental and social wellbeing. There are support groups online that can help you feel less isolated and alone. Find yourself all the help and support you can get.
So, that’s my two cents on what new moms can do to combat postpartum depression and keep it from ruining the most beautiful time of their lives. But if these remedies don’t work for you, or your depression is so bad you feel you may harm yourself or your baby, please seek professional help.
About Divya Chaturvedi Arora – “I am a Jill of all trades, currently a homemaker for my fauji and our son. 'Writer' is my default setting. When doing other jobs or nothing at all, writing always finds me. In another life time I was on the pilot team of India Today's luxury lifestyle supplement Spice. Since that I have freelanced as a content writer for various websites.”
Would you like to know more about postpartum depression (PPD)? Here's another article: 11 truths about PPD.
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