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Advice for Women Who May Be Suffering From Postpartum Depression

Mommy bloggers Natalie Lesnefsky and Emily Parker share their experience and tips for women who may be struggling with Postpartum Depression and Anxiety.

Natalie Lesnefsky

Blogger, At Home With Natalie

What advice would you give to women that are pregnant, or who might be suffering with Postpartum Depression (PPD)?

When it comes to PPD, realizing you have it is a HUGE step. If you’re wondering if what you’re feeling might be postpartum depression then it probably is and taking the steps to talk to your spouse, support system, and doctor is so important. Even just sharing your feelings out loud with someone you trust can help you feel better and better allow you to decide which path towards healing will work best for you. 

Is there anything that you feel may have contributed to your experiencing PPD?

Realizing and recognizing my struggles with PPD helped me to instantly feel better. Talking through it with my family and my doctor allowed me to admit that I needed to prioritize self-care and it was important for me to take the time to think through what I needed. Not what everyone else needed from me, but what I needed for me! It is tough as a mom to STOP going-going-going and really think through our feelings and wants and needs and then even tougher to actually implement them! I didn’t realize I had PPD until my third baby but then when I looked back at my previous postpartum experiences, I truly believe I struggled with postpartum depression after every pregnancy, it just took it getting worse with the third one for me to finally get help. My symptoms did improve over time and I’m thankful in a way for my PPD experience as it led me to better be able to communicate my needs and to make sure I prioritize self-care. We adopted our fourth child and I was surprised to still have some similar tough emotional moments as I did after my pregnancies. I learned that post-adoption emotions can be very similar to those tough hormonal changes in postpartum.

What helped you work through your PPD? Does it ever really go away?

I talked with my husband, and finally let go of the mom guilt. I let him help me more at night so I could get more sleep. I hired a cleaning lady. I scheduled a video call with my doctor and got on a low dose of antidepressants to take the edge off my anxiety. It immediately helped so much, and it has only gotten better as time went on. This season is still hard and overwhelming at times, but I feel significantly more able to handle it. It’s night and day to how I felt at the start.

How important is community amongst other new moms when dealing with PPD?

Community is so important. Other moms sharing their experiences is what encouraged me to finally seek help. When I first shared about my PPA on my Instagram, I kind of wanted to puke as I did it. I think it’s only natural that we want to share the good and fun, but sometimes sharing real life isn’t like that. It’s the hard parts, too, and the motivation to share the hard parts is so that others don’t feel alone. It took me months before I asked for help — I only wish I did sooner. If you are in a hard postpartum season struggling with anxiety or depression, let me be that person for you: it’s okay to ask for help. Talk to your spouse; talk to your doctor. Whether it’s medicine, getting help for a solid night sleep, or learning tools to work through the hard moments, reach out to someone if you can.

What resources have brought you the most ease?

The first big step for me was getting more sleep. My husband, Ben, helps a lot with the kids, but it was hard for me to let go. I felt guilty if it wasn’t me feeding and changing and rocking him. But Ben finally encouraged and basically forced me to sleep in my older daughter’s bed, and let him do the first feeding. Those hours of straight sleep were like magic. Letting go of control and having him help more at night was a game changer. I pray you have someone who can be that person for you. My doctor told me that sleep will be a huge help in getting through this season easier. It’s so true. Sleep is so important for our mental health.

Emily Parker

Blogger, The Journey of Parenthood

What advice would you give to women that are pregnant, or who might be suffering with Postpartum Depression (PPD)?

When it comes to PPD, realizing you have it is a HUGE step. If you’re wondering if what you’re feeling might be postpartum depression then it probably is and taking the steps to talk to your spouse, support system, and doctor is so important. Even just sharing your feelings out loud with someone you trust can help you feel better and better allow you to decide which path towards healing will work best for you.

What helped you work through your PPD? Does it ever really go away?

Realizing and recognizing my struggles with PPD helped me to instantly feel better. Talking through it with my family and my doctor allowed me to admit that I needed to prioritize self-care and it was important for me to take the time to think through what I needed. Not what everyone else needed from me, but what I needed for me! It is tough as a mom to STOP going-going-going and really think through our feelings and wants and needs and then even tougher to actually implement them! I didn’t realize I had PPD until my third baby but then when I looked back at my previous postpartum experiences, I truly believe I struggled with postpartum depression after every pregnancy, it just took it getting worse with the third one for me to finally get help. My symptoms did improve over time and I’m thankful in a way for my PPD experience as it led me to better be able to communicate my needs and to make sure I prioritize self-care.  We adopted our fourth child and I was surprised to still have some similar tough emotional moments as I did after my pregnancies. I learned that post-adoption emotions can be very similar to those tough hormonal changes in postpartum.

How important is community amongst other new moms when dealing with PPD?

Community is crucial when it comes to PPD. My husband didn’t understand what I was going through, he could not empathize, but he knew something was not normal, and he was supportive of me getting whatever help I needed to work through it. He was always hands-on with all of our children, which allowed me to take a break without having any guilt. My friends and family all jumped in to help and, for me, a big step was being able to accept their help as well as ask for the help I needed when I needed it. For example, I’m a “clean kitchen” person. Laundry piling up doesn’t bother me, but messy dishes in the sink are impossible to ignore. Someone coming over and doing my laundry would be helpful but someone cleaning all the dishes would really lighten my mental load in a much more significant way. Communicating those needs clearly to my husband and others who offered to help really helped minimize my overwhelmed feelings and allowed me to better manage the tasks I needed to in order to get the rest I needed as well. 

What resources have brought you the most ease?

For the last few years, I’ve been having regular visits to a therapist. It has been incredible to walk this path of healing some deeper hurts I’ve been carrying, and I cannot recommend therapy enough. It is for everyone. Whether you had a tough childhood, struggle with PPD, or just need someone to vent to, it can never hurt to talk things through with someone, and it can truly change your life. Having a solid game plan helps ease my stress levels so much.

Amy Beacom, Ed.D

Founder and CEO, Center for Parental Leave Leadership

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