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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