Postnatal depression: how to support your loved ones and practice self care
Being parents can be beyond overwhelming and I think it is good for you both to work on helping yourselves as well as baby. I strongly believe that happy parents make happy babies so you are just as important. You do not have to do any major changes however when suffering with postnatal depression or anxiety it can become all consuming and you may feel like no one can help you. So it’s good to remember that even though you may feel alone, there are people out there that want to help you, whether it be family, friends or specialised organisations that can help.
If you feel like you want to try and figure it out on your own first, then here are a few self help strategies to get through the day -
Go to bed early. You need to rest. Sounds like an obvious one but you would be surprised how many sleep deprived parents still stay up late.
Eat well. Low blood sugar levels can really affect mood changes and anxiety so try and keep a well balanced diet. Avoid too much sugar and alcohol as they can make your depression and anxiety worse.
Accept help. If a family member wants to watch baby for an hour in the day, do it. You could maybe ask for a family member or a friend to come over and babysit one night every few months so you can go to dinner. You can always put baby down to bed before you leave so the baby sitter only has to make sure they stay down, this way you feel calmer being out knowing baby is already settled.
Treat yourself. Simple things like retail therapy or a spa treatment for one of you while the other watches baby, then alternate.
Exercise. A simple thing like taking a walk can help clear anxiety or stress. It releases endorphins which help improve your mood.
Have realistic expectations. You have a healthy baby, you are already doing an amazing job. Try not to put pressure on yourself.
Keep a diary. Writing down all your fears and worries can really help release any inner rage or sadness, it really helps to clear the mind.
Focus on the positive. Be kind to yourself and do not overcommit. Family and friends will understand.
It is always important to try and talk to someone, even while you are trying out any of these self help strategies. If it all feels a bit too much then I really encourage you to speak to your GP, health visitor or one of the amazing organisations listed below -
APNI (Assocation for Postnatal Illness)
0207 386 0868
020 8519 2122
0300 330 0700
The Lullaby Trust
0808 802 6869
Remember PND doesn’t last forever and you will recover. You will have good days and bad days, however eventually you will have more & more good days and feel yourself getting better.
Find out more about Sleep by Alexandra
Sleep by Alexandra helps your family sleep better so you can enjoy more time together. Alexandra Collingbourne is a sleep consultant specialising in safe, holistic methods of getting your baby, toddler or young child to sleep in a way that empowers parents to live better, happier and with more energy. Specialist postnatal depression & anxiety support is also available for those who need it.
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