This is a scary word for many, because postpartum goes with depression, right? Wrong.
You CAN have a happy and healthy postpartum period with the right preparation and support. We are meant to be doted on and helped after we give birth, however, our society has drifted far away from this. With your partner, create a Postpartum Plan and include ways family and friends can help out. Here are some ways you can achieve that before baby arrives.
Visitors can be a help or a hindrance. A way to get a little use out of them is to give a task when they come over. Anyone that has issue helping out, really should be waiting until a later date when you’ve gotten a bit more of a schedule and baby is a bit older to visit.
Invite some friends over for a day of cooking freezer meals! Or, create a meal train online and appoint a friend or family member to activate it once baby has arrived. Ask friends and family to bring a small bag of groceries with your staple items when the come over to visit with you and baby. These are simple and easy ways to make sure you are getting good nutrition without worry or hassle.
IS SO IMPORTANT! Having a baby is an amazing and wonderful time, however, we can sometimes lose ourselves while taking care of a newborn (and siblings). Make sure to carve out time in your day for a shower. Wash your hair, brush your teeth, wear something comfortable yet new and clean (you can sometimes find yourself in the same yoga pants on Wednesday that you put on Monday), maybe even put on some light makeup. Seriously, you’ll feel like a new woman and more importantly, YOU.
Yes, the house can get a little messy, but if this is something that will induce anxiety, come up with a chore list to help keep up. Ask visitors to pick a small task when they come over. Move clothes from your washer to your dryer. Load or unload the dishwasher. Wipe down counters. Again, anyone that has issue, really should be waiting until a later date when you’ve gotten a bit more of a schedule to visit.
“Sleep when baby sleeps!”
Everyone says it, yet sometimes this can be difficult because it may be the only time you have to yourself, but sleep is so important to your physical and mental health. Sleep deprivation can contribute to PPMD (Postpartum Mood Disorders). If needed, feed baby and then hand him/her off to a family or friend so you can get a few hours sleep uninterrupted.
You really should spend a minimum of six weeks snuggling with your baby. Even though you may feel recovered by week two or three, really take it easy and relax as much as possible. Relaxing can be lying on the couch, or it can mean taking a light walk with baby in the sunshine. Sitting or napping outdoors is also a wonderful way to relax, all while still getting a good ol’ dose of vitamin D. (make sure to keep both you and baby protected from the sun to avoid sunburns)
Most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Let your guard down and allow your ‘village’ to come in. People love to help out and you can use it, whether this is your first baby or your fifth. Recruit those that will help you with your needs, but not tell you how you should be doing something. If you ask them for advice, will they be able to give you good information that aligns with your beliefs? Postpartum doulas can also be a great help in this time.
If you create a plan, have great support, and still experience symptoms beyond baby blues (lasting between days 3-10 in approximately 80% of women), do not hesitate to seek professional help. You are not alone with the feelings you may be experiencing and there IS help available.
PPD may last from 3 to 14 months or longer, if left untreated. Though most women recover within a year, the condition may become chronic if it goes untreated. Chronic depression may have significant effects on mother-baby attachment and bonding.
Symptoms of PPD include:
- Frequent crying
- Appetite changes
- Difficulty concentrating/making decisions
- Feelings of worthlessness
- Racing thoughts Agitation and/or persistent anxiety
- Anger, Fear, and/or feelings of guilt Obsessive thoughts of inadequacy as a person/parent
- Lack of interest in usual activities
- Lack of concern about personal appearance
- Feeling a loss of control
- Feeling disconnected from the baby
- Possible suicidal thoughts
Although most symptoms of PPD are similar to those in a Major Depressive Disorder, many symptoms are unique to PPD, including feelings of anger, fear, or extreme feelings of guilt, obsessive thoughts of inadequacy as a parent, extreme exhaustion yet difficulty sleeping, agitation, feelings of disconnection from the baby, and feeling a loss of control over one’s life. Read more about PPMD’s: http://psychotherapy.com/mom.html
PPMD Resource Guide
Baton Rouge Crisis Intervention Center
24-hour Crisis Counseling and Emotional Support Line
National Suicide Prevention Hotline and Website
Baton Rouge Resources
Cathy Figg Gaston
7920 Wrenwood Blvd, Suite D
Baton Roouge, LA
Trauma and PPMD Counsling and IBCLC
Victoria S. Benton, LPC
10985 N Harrells Ferry Rd #200
Baton Rouge, LA 70816
Onnie Perdue (Christian Counselor)
Murphy Toerner & Associates
17170 Perkins Rd
Baton Rouge, LA 70810
Birth Center of Baton Rouge
Healing Birth Circle
3rd Monday of each month at BCBR, 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Free, but please RSVP http://birthcenterbr.com/healing-birth-circle
New Moms’ Hope: A Pregnancy & Postpartum Support Group (FREE)
2nd Thursday of each month, 7-8:30 p.m., in the Staff Development Classroom
Lane Regional Medical Center
6300 Main Street
Dana LeTard Vicellio, Ed.S., LPC-S, NCC, NCSC
Baton Rouge General
Behavioral Health Services
8585 Picardy Ave
Baton Rouge, LA 70809
Louisiana Postpartum Depression Support Group (must be invited in)
Life Line Crisis Chat http://www.crisischat.org/chat
Ochsner Baton Rouge
17000 Medical Center Drive
Jan Floyd, CNM
Bethanie Genre, CNM
Amanda Lewis, CNM
Melanie Weaver, CNM
Sharon Hedges, MD
Juan Vargas, MD
100 Woman’s Way
Baton Rouge, LA 70817
Ryan Dickerson, MD
Louisiana Woman’s Healthcare
Elizabeth Buchert, MD
Associates in Women’s Health