Feeling depressed after baby's birth? New moms, you're not alone

Feeling depressed after baby's birth? New moms, you're not alone

Wellness

Feeling depressed after baby's birth? New moms, you're not alone

You hold a tiny miracle in your arms and you stare in wonder at this little life. It’s all-encompassing, life-changing and amazing. You count fingers, toes and marvel at this tiny human you’re now charged with raising, protecting and teaching.

There may be moments when there are tears — yours and baby’s.

I can recall how, in the wee hours one morning, my newborn son wailed (and maybe I did, too). I could not console him no matter what I did. After changing his diaper, nursing and seemingly trying everything in the book for my just-days-old child, he still cried. But my husband and I eventually figured it out. He was cold. His little feetie jammies weren’t enough. It was so simple that I can laugh about it now.

But what about mom?

Perhaps you have baby’s needs dialed in and figured out, but something is just off. What about you, mom? Are you crying, anxious, depressed or inconsolable?

In a Courier-Post story from Kim Mulfor, Dr. Michael O’Hara, an expert on postpartum depression at The University of Iowa, explains: “Many women in postpartum depression really feel tied to their home and focus exclusively on the baby without taking care of themselves.”

Sounds like you or someone you know?

About 15 to 20 percent of new mothers experience depression, according to O’Hara. You’re not alone if you’re feeling this way.

Help is a mouse click away

“The longer the depression continues, the more difficult it is to treat,” O’Hara adds.

Moms soon will have tools they can access online at the click of a mouse while in their pajamas via a new program called MomMoodBooster.

We’re cheering for the free, six-week program from Southern New Jersey Perinatal Cooperative’s Postpartum Wellness Initiative for South Jersey, which is rolling out the online treatment option this month.

MomMoodBooster was designed for women with mild to moderate symptoms.

Simple tips for new moms

This online program and Mulfor’s article offer new moms some important reminders:

  1. Interrupt negative, anxious thoughts, whether it’s jumping online for a bit and checking social media, watching a movie or favorite show on TV, or going for a walk with baby (or without, if you can leave baby with someone you trust).
  2. Set up a call schedule with a close friend who will check in on you regularly. Choosing friends you can be honest with means they will know whether your sadness and postpartum symptoms are improving.
  3. Remember to reduce stress and relax. If you’re totally focusing on your new baby, you’re probably forgetting to take care of yourself. Build time into each day to do something for you. Exercise, stretch, meditate, play a game online, phone a friend, go for a walk.
  4. Don’t stay holed up. Sadness and despair not improving? Reach out and get your doctor’s help, seek counseling and let someone you trust know you’re struggling. There’s power in saying what you need, moms.

Help your baby by helping yourself.

Click here for more information about the symptoms, diagnosis, risk factors and treatment of postpartum depression.

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