Taking Care of You: Dealing with Depression, Postpartum Blues and Motherhood
posted by: Guest Blogger
In the parenting world, our children are generally the ones getting all of the attention, care and concern. We recognize that parents and caregivers are important, but their issues and outcomes often get brushed under the rug when we talk about raising a child. But a child’s healthy development depends on a strong family unit and network of caregivers, so it’s essential to focus not only on the young ones, but also their first teachers in life, parents and caregivers.
May is National Mental Health Awareness Month and we’d like to share our love and support for our heroic parents and caregivers with tips on caregiver resilience and pregnancy-related depression (PRD).
As an expectant mother, it’s essential for your health as well as your baby’s prenatal development for you to feel strong and supported. Here are some tips for the months and weeks leading up to baby’s arrival:
- Expressing how you feel with a friend, relative, in a group or with a counselor or therapist can help you feel more confident about your new role. Baby will feel that confidence even before he is born.
- Support groups can be a great source of comfort as you discover others who are feeling the same way you are.
- Building support doesn’t have to be hard – just reach out! Reaching out is a sign of strength not weakness. Embrace your strength by sharing.
- Research indicates that when a mother experiences a relaxed state, the baby’s fetal heart rhythm improves. So relax, take a nap or a bath! Taking care of you is taking care of the baby.
Postpartum blues and depression are common conditions and can be treated. The sooner you receive help, the sooner the healing can begin. Here are some tips for coping:
- Don’t try to suppress crying or put on a ‘supermom’ show for everyone.
- Get out of the house at least once a day, even if it’s only for five minutes.
- Schedule regular time alone with your partner or with a friend.
- If you don’t feel better by the time your baby is 1 month old, talk to your physician about your feelings.
The first few months of raising a child are a big transition. Here are some tips for when you’re feeling frustrated:
- Place your baby gently in his crib and leave the room while you take some time to calm yourself down, making sure to check on your baby within five to 10 minutes.
- If your baby is fussy or hard to comfort, remember you’re not alone. 1 in 5 babies is fussy or difficult to comfort.
- Try holding, rocking, or stroking your baby over and over. Babies will take longer to calm down if they are very young or very upset. Whatever you do, NEVER SHAKE A BABY. This can cause serious, permanent harm – even death.
- Call Fussy Baby Network if you have concerns about baby’s fussiness during the first year of life: 1-877-627-9227. The infant specialists at Fussy Baby Network will work with caregivers to find more ways to comfort, care for, and enjoy your baby. Fussy Baby Network will also look for ways to reduce stress and ways to help you feel more confident.
For parents of children at all ages, it’s okay to focus on yourself sometimes. Self-care is equally as important to your child’s growth and health as learning games and activities.
Here are some tips for when you’re feeling frustrated:
- Take some deep breaths, and feel yourself relax and get back in control of your emotions.
- Call a friend, relative, or trusted neighbor. Caregivers need someone to talk with for support, advice, or just to blow off steam.
- Take some time for yourself. Go do the things you enjoy and find time to relax.
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