Christina explains how a woman can decrease her postpartum depression symptoms.
Women who are pregnant and going to be having another child soon can prepare for the prevention of a postpartum mood disorder by first of all becoming educated. The more information that women learn about pregnancy and postpartum mood disorders, the better off they are going to be afterward at identifying whether or not they are experiencing those symptoms.
If they have the information and the understanding of what they are, they are more likely to catch it earlier on and to stop the progression of the illness so that they don’t end up becoming more sick than maybe they would have. So education is a primary factor in prevention.
Number two is the practical support which is often sort of neglected, I think, but so important for moms to think about the practical support. I think somehow we, I don’t know, we delude ourselves into believing that we are going to be able to do it all with the baby, and if it’s the first-time mom, she is definitely not going to understand just how intense that experience is and how much time it takes and how tired you are.
So the more practical support you can set up ahead of time, the better. As far as calling friends say, “Hey, can you come over after the baby is born and watch her a little bit while I take a nap and help me get some sleep? Can you help me with food or with childcare or any of those kinds of practical concerns?” And then also knowing the resources in your area is another important factor.
For instance, here in Arizona we have a statewide warmline that’s toll free. And if mothers have that number handy and they know that it’s available, then if something comes up, they have someone to call. Also, if they could look into maybe counseling in their area or doctors that are understanding and have those numbers ready to go, just in case they need it when the time comes. It can make the whole postpartum experience a lot simpler and a lot more effective.
The other thing that I need to mention is just mothers need to recognize the importance of sleep. It’s the most crucial part of the whole thing, and as a psychologist and expert in coping, I think when we get enough sleep we can cope and when we don’t, we can’t – basic.
So moms need to really accept that they need that sleep, and as much as they can, try to take naps and get the sleep and not see it as a selfish act but rather as a necessary act for their own well-being.
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