How To Treat Postpartum Depression

The baby blues, postpartum depression How to treat postnatal depression today here at Live On Purpose TV

I love being a psychologist You know what I love even more than being a psychologist? Being a dad, that has been so much fun for me My kids are all grown now but when we first started having kids, I remember how amazing that process was I was just so blown away by the miracle of having kids Totally amazing

My wife had something to do with all of this and you moms out there are going to be chuckling right about now because really, how much does the dad have to do with childbirth and pregnancy? I mean, we contribute and we could probably contribute a whole lot more if we got tuned in emotionally but really, the mom is the one that's going through most and one of the conditions that shows up a lot in my office, at least historically is depression and one of the most common causes of depression for women is something that we call postnatal or postpartum depression, sometimes it's known as the baby blues which is really common but it can get even more serious than that and actually become a clinically diagnosed with depression that is triggered by the birth of children That's probably oversimplifying it because think about what happens when you become pregnant Okay, first of all, you are on a hormonal roller coaster, everything is out of whack and it's because your body is adjusting to this major construction project that is going on that you're the foreman of and you don't even have to track all of the to do's and the by winds, it just automatically happens and your body is housing all of this The hormones that are required, the neuro chemistry that gets altered, the blood flow changes, everything, all bets are off when you're pregnant, just saying So there's a lot of changes that happen also in your life especially if this is your first baby but maybe some of you have noticed that having your second baby changes everything again, third baby, here we go again because every person that comes into your family is going to change that dynamic so you've got all of these internal changes with your body and your chemicals and your hormones and then you've got all the external changes where the family dynamics are changing and the family constellation is changing and your husband is doing his thing and that's just, wow

The context around this thing is a hotbed, it's like the perfect storm for a mood disturbance Depression is a mood problem, okay Mood, meaning how you feel basically and it's categorized clinically as a mood disorder, depression is Postpartum or postnatal depression is just one cell subcategory of the greater grouping of depression and mood disorders so in that context, what can you do about it? You know what? First of all, realize you're not as crazy as you feel, okay That's going to help because you're having a normal reaction to a really abnormal event that's going on in your body and in your world

How are you supposed to feel about all this stuff? Well you're going to feel a number of things and joy is only one of those, you're going to have some other stuff happening too Doesn't mean that you're crazy, probably means that you're human, okay So you're having a normal reaction to an abnormal event and not that pregnancy is abnormal, it happens all the time but it's abnormal in terms of what you usually are experiencing, right So wrap your head around that for a minute, it'll give you a little bit of permission to feel whatever you're going to feel and that's actually going to be therapeutic and helpful Now having said that, I think there's a few things that you can try

Little disclaimer here, I am NOT giving you a to-do list, you've already got enough of those and you have more once the baby is born This is not a to-do list just some ideas, some tips, some things you might consider as part of your self-care and that becomes even more important because now you got a little one to care for too so self-care becomes huge, it's an enormously important thing as you go through that postpartum, postnatal phase and maybe might be experiencing some depression or blues So let's take a look at what we can do Number one Okay, disclaimer on number one, I'm asking you to do something that is enormously difficult, we've just found that it's really important and that is sleep, okay Sleep, your sleep gets messed up big time when you have a baby First of all, the baby is on a totally different schedule and the little kid kind of rules the roost too so you have to respond to that baby's needs One thing that a lot of moms have found is that if they sleep when the baby sleeps, that's going to help you get the sleep that you need which is not abundantly available right now because of the babies schedule, right? Some moms are hesitant to do this because they want to get back to their own schedule, well you can do that at some point, mom, but this might not be it During that first period especially, after the baby is born, I think it's important to get what sleep you can when you can

Take care of your body as well as you can given the circumstances and let's just take all the guilt and shame that's associated with, oh my gosh, I'm taking a nap in the middle of the day Just throw that out the window somewhere because we're on a whole new program now, okay So you get to sleep when you can and that usually means when the baby is sleeping Okay, let's go on to another tip You're going to love this one too

Diet and exercise Now by diet I am not talking restrict your intake of food, that's not the kind of diet I'm talking about, I'm talking about the kind of diet that's listed on the little placard at the zoo when you're viewing an animal and it says diet rodents or something like that Diet just means what you eat Pay attention to what you're consuming because that fuel is going to take care of your body and your brain and it will help you to regulate your chemistry again so I'm not a nutritionist and I'm not here to describe what that diet would be but pay attention to it and maybe ask your obstetrician or your family doctor what might be a good approach or consult with a nutritionist or do some research about what's a good diet for a mother who has just gone through childbirth and you may be nursing the baby, you may not be nursing the baby, there's different nutritional needs for both of those but you got to take care of yourself and the baby, so diet is an important part of that

What about exercise? Well you need to go through whatever recovery period that you need to based on the trauma that sometimes happens to your body in childbirth, even if you're recovering, there are some exercises that you can do that will affect your metabolism and thereby your chemistry Do you see where we're going with all this? I'm not talking exercise to lose the baby weight, you know, some moms are concerned about that This may help with that but that's not why I'm recommending it, I'm talking about mood management and getting yourself moving and have some way of exercising your body and get back to your regular routine when you can but even before you can get back to your regular exercise routine, find some way to get your body moving and to get that metabolism, it sends signals to your brain and to other organs in your body to change things about how you're metabolizing the food that you're eating in and how to regulate your mood Every time, I've shared this before in other videos, every time we talk about depression and exercise, there are studies that have been replicated many times, where we put exercise up against antidepressant medication and exercise always wins, okay, and they can both be helpful but sometimes there's reasons why you want to stay away from some of the medications and consult with your doctor about this because there's some that are safe for a nursing mother for example, there's others that you might want to be a little more careful about but exercise is one of those things that most moms are in position to at least start doing something and this is going to help the mood Okay, let's go to another tip and this is one of my favorites because it's one that I'm a provider for and that is positive input

Just like your diet, okay, think about your mind as having a diet as well What am I watching? What am I listening to? What am I reading? And is that input that I'm getting generally positive and encouraging and uplifting or is it generally negative and kind of a downer? A lot of moms in those first weeks and and months after a baby is born find themselves consuming more media whether it's TV or listening to the radio or whatever it is, by and large the mainstream media tends not to be geared toward positivity Just watch the news once and you'll see what I'm talking about I kind of avoid the news for the most part because of the negative focus and how I feel afterwards, that matters So what if everyday you were to find ways to put positive input into your mind? Maybe listening to audio books, watching these YouTube videos, listening to a podcast or an inspiring talk or music that uplifts and inspires

This is going to help your baby too because if you've got positive stuff filling the air in your home, that's going to affect the little one as well and the whole mood of your home Positive input, I'm a big fan and there's so many options out there so take control of what's coming into your home and what's coming into your mind as a result of that input Now one other tip and suggestion, associate Get into some kind of social connectedness, I'm thinking about a study they did at Stanford years ago on breast cancer and they found that group association in the form of bringing these ladies together in a social group where they could talk and interact with each other actually extended their life expectancy by an average of two years, there's been other studies that similar kinds of results, that social interaction and connectedness tends to do something that is healing and affirming to our soul So what can you do to get connected socially? Probably the easiest way is through social media

Now there's up sides and down sides to social media but it's one opportunity for you to associate with other people who are in similar circumstances and those people are going to have ideas that you haven't thought of, they're going to be experiencing things that are kind of similar to what you're experiencing which helps to normalize it for you and you're not going to feel so crazy and that social support tends to be something that is very therapeutic and healing so there's a few tips And be creative and open to some of the possibilities Remember, this is a normal reaction to an abnormal event in your life All the chemistry's thrown off so some of the bets are off for a while but you can bring that back into line too with some of the tips we've talked about and a whole lot of others that are immediately available to you especially as you connect with some other people Wow, my hat just goes off to all those moms out there who put up with so much to bring these beautiful little babies into the world

Thank you for all that you do Leave a comment below if you would like to acknowledge someone who has done that for you in your life

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