When I go back 7 years ago to when I was pregnant with my first child, Jasper, it was very difficult for me to even entertain what life would be like postpartum. It was all I could do to focus on the birth. The postpartum period was difficult for me, but I never experienced what I would call depression. I did, however feel very alone, very cut off from my single friends and my extended family. I didn’t have any new mom friends and often thought, “My goodness, somewhere, in a parallel reality, I am living in a community where I share my life with other women and moms, cooking together, cleaning together and helping each other!” Eventually, I found a local moms yahoogroup and while limited, it helped a great deal to connect me with new moms. I still missed my husband day in and day out and wondered where oh where was my tribe?
If you are pregnant now and reading this, terrific! I encourage you to create your tribe now and start planning for the postpartum period. This can consist of fellow moms, dear friends you can ask for help and count on, and you can also hire a postpartum doula. Recently I spoke with Tara Brooke and Gina Giordano, who work respectively in San Francisco and Austin, Texas, and who offer Postpartum Doula Trainings and they described a postpartum doula as a ‘best friend for hire’ ~ they cook, they clean, they shop, they help with breastfeeding issues, they hold the baby while you shower etc. They suggest making a list of the things that you do every day and ask yourself, who will do those postpartum? Support has never meant so much as when you have a newborn!
So what are the baby blues and how do you treat them? Well, according to Dr. Shoshana Bennett, (Dr. Shosh) co- author of Beyond the Blues, Understanding and Treating Prenatal and Postpartum Depression and Anxiety if you are feeling blue beyond two weeks postpartum, you may have postpartum depression. Baby blues occur for 50-80% of moms. Within two weeks of giving birth, it is natural for you to feel weepy and emotional as your hormones come back into balance, you may also feel sleep deprived, which is also entirely normal. Getting good rest is vital to overall wellness and this can be challenging with a newborn. If you experience the blues beyond two weeks you may wish to seek professional help. If you are experiencing depression in your pregnancy (15-23 % of women do) you can begin to treat it now via diet and lifestyle changes. Dr. Shosh recommends various treatments like individual/group counseling, emotional/physical support, massage, acupuncture, exercise and nutrition.
This blog would not be complete if I did not mention placenta encapsulation. Many women are choosing this option and the word is that the nutrients in your placenta can go very far in giving you the nutrition you need to remain happy and healthy.
So the good news is, postpartum life can truly feel like an emotional roller coaster and that is totally natural. We have all been there! If you have a history of depression and could use support during your pregnancy and postpartum, please ask for it! You deserve to feel healthy and loved and supported and there are numerous resources and support networks that exist for you. You don’t need to be a super mom and handle it all alone!
Stephanie Dawn, ALSP is a Sacred Birth Coach and licensed counselor supporting mamas in the prenatal and postpartum period in Los Angeles and internationally. She is the author of the Sacred Birth Workbook, Childbirth Preparation for the Heart, Mind and Spirit. Contact Stephanie for a complimentary consultation by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.stephaniedawn.com
Please check with your Medical Provider regarding any health or mental health symptoms or treatment. Pregnancy Awareness Month is not endorsing one particular type of treatment, nor encouraging you to abstain from consulting with your Medical Provider.