Written by Jana Angeles
It can be a challenge to bond with your baby if you’re suffering from post-natal depression (PND). As with those who suffer anxiety or depression, it’s hard to live your normal routine, especially if you’re feeling helpless and drowning in feelings of sorrow. It isn’t your fault you feel this way and it doesn’t help if you’ve just recently given birth to a child. Your life has definitely changed since then. You were probably bubbly and full of life, always wanting to maintain an active and healthy lifestyle and being social amongst your group of friends and family. Now, you’re withdrawn and totally isolate yourself from others (even people you care about). Having PND can affect the way you bond with your baby and it’s important to do your best to find ways in coping.
Stay Fit and Healthy
When suffering from PND, we understand how difficult it must be to stay motivated when it comes to working on yourself. Staying in bed with the curtains closed is a familiar scenario and it may be tempting to not be mentally and physically active. The first step in coping with PND is to distract yourself and change your diet, sign up to a gym and take classes such as kickboxing or zumba. Taking initiative is all you need to get yourself started and this will distract you from feeling down. It’ll give you clarity and peace of mind that you’re eating the right foods and exercising on a daily basis. Doing this will surely give you a positive boost and can keep you on track in bonding with your baby.
Get Enough Sleep
Having an active lifestyle as well as getting enough sleep go hand-in-hand and it’s important to embrace sleeping at an early hour. Getting plenty of rest is important so we encourage you to sleep roughly the same time as your baby. Having given birth, you’ll find that you’re more exhausted than usual and you may feel like you’re unable to cook, clean and entertain like you normally would. It’s okay to feel like you can’t take on normal day-to-day activities. Remember to pace yourself and don’t let guilt take over. Having a good night’s sleep can really help you feel energised and refreshed, giving you another opportunity to start bonding with your baby.
Ask For Help
It’s easy to feel ashamed when asking for extra help from your family and friends, but the real truth is, you shouldn’t! Having PND as well as a newborn can be tough to juggle. You may find yourself not being able to do household duties or grocery shopping. Let others take care of that for the time being. Having all that extra time can help you strengthen the bond of your baby, without being so time-sensitive.
Avoid taking any alcohol and drugs. Alcohol is a depressant and the effects of it can make you feel more depressed than usual. Drugs can cause problems to your body and it can interfere with the medication you’re taking to treat PND. Also, you should avoid both alcohol and drugs if you’re breastfeeding as you can pass them through your breast milk. Besides that, drugs and alcohol are a bad mix, especially if you suffer from PND. Though they may seem to provide a temporary escape, staying sober is important to keep track of bonding with the baby.
Join A Support Group
When suffering PND, sometimes it can feel like you can’t find people you can relate to. Joining a support group can make you feel less isolated and comfortable in your own skin. You’ve got to remember that having PND doesn’t define you and there are other people who are on the same boat. Having conversations with people sharing the same journey can definitely help you see the bigger picture and regular communication can help you cope and heal too. A support group can encourage you to feel less weighted by PND and keep you on track when strengthening your bond with the baby.
It’s hard to persist through life when the unexpected happens. You’ve followed the “rules” but the road is different for you as a mother. It’s okay to feel helpless at times and not feel like yourself most days, but remember that you can get through this. The battle is going through PND and still making the effort of bonding with the baby. Adapting a healthier lifestyle and finding a support network can really go a long way to help you on the road to recovery.