During the last quarter of 2019, the world was stirred by this pandemic brought about by the outbreak of a microorganism, the Novel CoronaVirus popularly labeled as the Corona Virus of 2019 or COVID 19. It crippled everything. From the government, the economy, travel, safety and security. We faced a period of uncertainty. Moreso for mothers who are expecting their child during these trying and tough times. It was worsened by our limited capability, capacities, and accessibility brought about by a series of lockdowns over periods of time as mandated by our government. In this blog, we shed a different light on experiencing postpartum depression in the worst and grim of times, the pandemic. We will also be looking at how we can survive it even this time.
According to the American Psychology Association, It’s common for women to experience the “baby blues” — feeling stressed, sad, anxious, lonely, tired or weepy — following their baby’s birth. But some women, up to 1 in 7, experience a much more serious mood disorder — postpartum depression. Unlike the baby blues, PPD doesn’t go away on its own. It can appear days or even months after delivering a baby; it can last for many weeks or months if left untreated. PPD can make it hard for you to get through the day, and it can affect your ability to take care of your baby, or yourself. PPD can affect any woman—women with easy pregnancies or problem pregnancies, first-time mothers and mothers with one or more children, women who are married and women who are not, and regardless of income, age, race or ethnicity, culture or education.
The warning signs are different for everyone but may include:
- A loss of pleasure or interest in things you used to enjoy, including sex ● Eating much more, or much less, than you usually do
- Anxiety—all or most of the time—or panic attacks
- Racing, scary thoughts
- Feeling guilty or worthless—blaming yourself
- Excessive irritability, anger or agitation—mood swings
- Sadness, crying uncontrollably for very long periods of time
- Fear of not being a good mother
- Fear of being left alone with the baby
- Inability to sleep, sleeping too much, difficulty falling or staying asleep ● Disinterest in the baby, family, and friends
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, or making decisions
- Thoughts of hurting yourself or the baby.
The risk factors for postpartum depression involves the following;
- A change in hormone levels after childbirth
- Previous experience of depression or anxiety
- Family history of depression or mental illness
- Stress involved in caring for a newborn and managing new life changes
- Having a challenging baby who cries more than usual, is hard to comfort, or whose sleep and hunger needs are irregular and hard to predict
- Having a baby with special needs (premature birth, medical complications, illness)
- First-time motherhood, very young motherhood, or older motherhood
- Other emotional stressors, such as the death of a loved one or family problems ● Financial or employment problems
- Isolation and lack of social support
So given the inevitable situation we are currently facing, what can we do in order to survive PPD amidst the pandemic which in itself is a depressing situation already? We have run down 10 doable tips that would serve as a guide;
- Get as much help as you can. Do not be ashamed to ask for help. Asking for help doesn't make you less of a human being. Admit that you are not okay and that you need the help. The task of taking care of the baby may be shared to others. If your husband is on work deployment, arrange for you to live with your mother or in-laws, or relatives so they can keep you company and assist you during this tough situation. For example, after breastfeeding, you can delegate to your partner or family members to do the burping and make your baby fall asleep, so you'll also be able to recover the much needed sleep or may take a nap. Afterall, helping rear the baby is a joy to behold for them.
- Make time for yourself. Make sure you're restored, replenished and reinvigorated. You couldn't give what you don't have. Make sure you are full so you can fill your baby the tender, loving care that your baby needs. Find that “me” time. May it be going back to the hobbies that you do before pregnancy, learning a new skill, finding new hobbies like exercising, reading, cooking, baking, knitting, gardening. Anything that makes you feel good and brings that sense of a different accomplishment.
- Make time to rest. Sleep while the baby is sleeping. Sleep deprivation often leads to depression. In the early days, your baby likely isn’t sleeping through the night. You may find it helpful to take naps or go to bed early. If you’re breast-feeding, consider pumping a bottle so your partner can take care of an overnight feeding or two.
- Connect with family, friends, relatives. Avoid moments of isolation. Join social circles online or offline. If it is unavoidable that you have to be alone, technology via Zoom or Google Meet can always come in handy. Or if the lockdown situation in your state or locality has eased down, arrange for some close meet up with loved ones but still practicing the mandated health and safety protocols.
- Avoid situations which makes you feel anxious. If faced with such a situation, take a moment to take a deep breath, distance yourself from the situation to be able to see the bigger picture, and be able to ask yourself the question, “ Is it worth worrying about it?” If the answer is yes, find solutions or ask your relatives and loved ones for solutions. Or asked those who have experienced the same. They'll be more than happy to provide insights. Afterall, experience is still the greatest teacher.
- Eat healthy food. Food is fuel and at the same time a medicine. Do not starve yourself.
- Sometimes, it also pays to reward yourself. Satisfy your cravings but in moderation. You know yourself better. And rewarding yourself offers that sense of accomplishment like a trophy after a quest.
- Do not force yourself to do something which is beyond your control. E.g. Exclusive breastfeeding. Accept that not all breasts are created equal. Some are blessed with that overflowing milk while others have it scarce. It can be a medical condition which prevents you from producing enough milk. Don't punish yourself for it. Remember, best efforts still count.
- Read articles on taking care of your baby. Blogs, books, or instructional videos on the internet. Explore and utilize all resources there could be. The more you know, the more confident and easier for you to navigate motherhood. You do better when you know better.
- Enjoy every cuddle, every hug, and every smile of your little one. Be ready for those milestones, the first attempt to crawl, the first grip, the first stance. Be the first one to witness those moments of firsts. They are definitely one for the books. Things will get better- experience will be your greatest teacher.
Being a first time or a seasoned mom is both a responsibility and a vocation. We just put all the love and dedication to it. After all, no motherhood task is ordinary. Even the most mundane of all tasks can be overwhelming. But after all it is in our hands that we can control the situation given the options. We here at Mummy’s Miracle are one with you in celebrating that unique power that a woman has, and that is Motherhood.
We have the Anti-aging 100% Moringa Leaf Powder which is packed with the necessary nutrients and could be a great supplementation to your dietary requirements while breastfeeding and moringa stimulates the production of milk supply. It could be mixed with your smoothie and favorite beverages, brewed as a tea and mixed with our dishes. It’s just a matter of creativity. We also have our mom’s skin care products which could help you during your first few months since your childbirth such as our Mummy’s Miracle Nipple and Lip Balm, Moringa Oil and Stretch Mark Oil. All mean to pay tribute to the greatest mother in the world that is you.
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