Bringing a baby into the world is one of the most miraculous things a woman can do. You create a strong connection with your newborn from the moment they start growing in the womb, and watch that bond continue to blossom as your child ages. But while there are many amazing milestones and feelings that occur after giving birth, many people shy away from discussing a condition that's very common and has mothers feeling pessimistic after pregnancy: postpartum depression.
According to The Postpartum Stress Center, postpartum depression is a medical condition that occurs in 20 percent of all women after giving birth. Women are more likely to experience a mental illness postpartum, so it's something that shouldn't be taken lightly.
Let's take a closer look at postpartum depression, some of its common symptoms and ways to cope and care for your body during this period of time:
What is Postpartum Depression?
Considered a mental health illness, postpartum depression is a condition that women may develop almost immediately after giving birth, occurring days or weeks postpartum. Most commonly confused with the baby blues, PPD is diagnosed when the harsh feelings of sadness and loneliness stick around for months after delivering.
While the exact cause of postpartum depression is unknown, this mental condition is likely to blame for hormonal changes. After giving birth, hormone levels are constantly up and down and can sometimes cause chemical changes in the brain. The depletion of nutrients like DHA, iodine, and vitamin D from growing a baby can also contribute to postpartum depression.
What are the Common Symptoms?
As a new mother, it's common to feel overwhelmed with this new life change. However, it shouldn't make you feel like you're going crazy. If you feel as though your baby blues have escalated to postpartum depression, consider the following symptoms. If you are experiencing any of these feelings, it may be time to get in touch with your doctor.
You're feeling defeated. Taking care of the baby, going back to work, balancing your relationships and making time for yourself just doesn't seem attainable. You may find yourself second guessing why you wanted to become a mother in the first place – and this is not OK.
You're feeling guilty. You're starting to feel like you could be doing more to take care of your baby, yet you are trying your absolute best.
You're having trouble bonding with your baby. You're not feeling that unbelievable bond your mother swore you'd feel after giving birth.
You're not eating. Your dietary habits have changed drastically and you're not making time to sit down and eat normal meals.
"You feel as though you've lost yourself."
You're not sleeping. You're not getting enough sleep during the night or during the day while your baby naps.
You're not feeling like yourself. You feel as though you've lost yourself – you can't remember what it's like to have a social life or spend time doing the things you used to love.
You're having issues connecting with your partner. You and your partner are having a difficult time connecting after giving birth.
Keep in mind that all of these symptoms can escalate day by day. Sometimes you might feel fine, and the next day you could experience something severe. It's important to notice these cues and know when it's time to talk to someone.
Ways to Care for Your Body After Pregnancy
As a new mother, your top priority is taking care of your baby. However, you need to understand the importance of taking care of yourself as well. Setting aside a few hours of the day to take a break and relax is essential to motherhood. Getting enough sleep – whether it's during the day while your baby is resting or at night while your partner takes care of your newborn – is also key to your physical and mental wellness.
Following a primarily raw, plant-based diet can also benefit you during this time in your life. Getting a variety of essential vitamins and nutrients will keep you balanced and in great health, which can ultimately cater to your mood and overall wellness. If you find it difficult to keep up with a healthy lifestyle, you may consider prepping meals a week in advance to avoid grabbing quick, unhealthy options. You can also ask your partner, a family member or another person in your support system if they can help you prepare healthy meals throughout the week.
Supporting your body's health is critical after you deliver your baby. Our Professional Strength DHA helps replenish the DHA you just gave to your baby. DHA is a major structural fat in your brain, so it is critical for mental health. Iodine is also important for mood, along with vitamin D3 / K2. Good mental health begins with a healthy body and brain.