Depression is classified as a mood disorder. It may be described as feelings of sadness, loss, or anger that interfere with a person’s everyday activities.
So, the above definition is from the web. Just to lighten the understanding of depression, let us take an example of growing a sapling.
What do we do when we buy a sapling which we love a lot? Imagine you have been waiting to get the sapling for quite some time and finally, sapling arrives. A very tender sapling that needs just the right amount of water, the right amount of sunlight, the right amount of shade. Anything that increases or decreases then affects the growth of the sapling. We know what happens when a sapling is not taken care of. For example: If a sapling gets dry, it takes a lot of effort to get the sapling back to how it was again.
Similarly, if we do not take care of ourselves, then it directly affects the baby. We are part of the baby’s environment. If the baby is affected, we get disturbed. Yes, our babies become our topmost priority but, to take good care of your priority, you should be in good health physically and mentally. Isn’t it?
Humans are a part of nature, whether it is a sapling, a cub, a puppy, a calf, a baby, a mother anything when tender needs a lot of care and love. Post-delivery is referred to as postpartum, our physical body is struggling to heal itself. During this time, your body and mind need care and love to help in coming back to how it was or better than that.
The actual reasons for postpartum depression are unknown or cannot be pinned as exact reasons, as we know every individual is different and everyone has a different trigger point. Baby blues are very common post-delivery and can last up to 1-2 weeks, it will fade off after that and you won’t even know that you had something like that. Now, if it continues, affects your activities, and is unable to come out of your emotions (referring to sad emotions), you have to consult a Doctor.
You may feel that such a thing cannot happen to me! Again this has nothing to do with you as a person. By now you know whom to blame? Yes, the HORMONES. What happens when your blood pressure shoots up? If not experienced, at least we have seen what happens to others, right. In the same way, there are consequences when our hormone levels go up and down. The body is trying hard to balance, any weakness then the consequences will show up. The levels of hormonal imbalance are different in each woman. Listen to your body, your body will let you know when something is wrong. No one knows your body better than you do.
Some of the common trigger points for postpartum depression-
Fear of taking care of the baby.
Already has a history of depression before pregnancy.
Depression genes run through the family.
Complications in delivery.
Medications during pregnancy.
Already under some kind of medication.
Unable to bond with the baby
Gender of the baby. Conflicts with wants and reality.
Took medications to conceive.
Unable to settle with the changes after delivery.
Lack of sleep.
The above points are only to give an idea, actual reasons could be anything. This is to guide you in understanding when something doesn’t feel right within you.
Hormones won’t mind if you blame them but, people will mind. Let us take control of our lives, let’s get the priorities set, let’s ask for help when we need help, let’s not push ourselves to a limit where we break down after that, let’s take control of our health. Most importantly, let’s take CARE of ourselves.
Some tips for post-delivery routine -
You need to understand that everything cannot be done by you. You need some help or assistance in the daily chores.
Divide the tasks among the family members. This helps in family involvement and one person is not burdened with everything.
You can assign massaging and bathing the baby to someone. You can either hire a professional or if anyone in your family is able to massage and bathe the baby, then you can assign the task to them. This gives you some time to relax.
If you want to take up baby chores, then list down all the chores related to the baby and see which task can be taken up by you, and assign the rest to others.
Even diaper changing can be assigned to someone while you get to relax for some time during the change.
Cooking is tiring during the initial months. Either hire a cook or one of your family members can take up the task.
When the baby is getting a massage, you can get your massage done. Either hire a professional or you can even do it yourself or ask your partner to do it for you.
Assign house cleaning chores to someone. You can either hire a professional or one of your family members can take up the task.
You can slowly start your workout routine. Please consult your doctor before starting any workout regime. As they can guide you on when you can start based on your delivery complications.
For the initial 40 days, please take as much rest as possible. Whenever you find some time, rest, relax. This is very important and plays a major role in getting your body back to normal.
Breastfeeding your baby helps you in bonding with the baby, as you hold the baby close to you, soothes the baby, and makes the baby feel comfortable. This in turn will help you relax.
It takes a little while to get settled into the new change. Take it slow, take one task at a time. It is okay if you are not able to do some things as you would do earlier. Things will get better.
Always remember - “If you cannot take care of yourself, then you cannot be there for others”