What if women knew how to support themselves when they had postpartum depression?
What would change for them? For their children? For their family?
Growing up, I was always a happy child. So when Postpartum Depression hit me after having my twins, I didn’t know what to do.
I reached out for help, but I didn’t want to see a psychiatrist. I also didn’t want to take medications. So I suffered for twenty-six long months.
Postpartum depression is the thief that steals motherhood. – Cheryl Tatano Beck
Although I endured much great suffering, I vowed to myself to figure this out. I enrolled to become a women’s herbal educator with Dr. Aviva Romm, to find out how to heal myself without medication.
In this post, I’ll share what I’ve learned about PPD and how you can prevent it now or with your next pregnancy.
How does Postpartum Depression (PPD) happen?
The cause of PPD remains unknown, but some suggest reasons are…
- The rapid changes in hormones during the postpartum period
- Thyroid insufficiency (The thyroid can go from Hyperthyroid to Hypothyroidism 2-5 months after birth)
- A rapid drop in insulin levels
- Inadequate vitamins & minerals
- Mother-child separation and negative birth experience
- Lack of social and emotional support
- Sleep deprivation
Postpartum Depression affects 15-28% of mothers
When does Postpartum Depression start?
Postpartum depression starts 2- 3 weeks after birth and can last up to a year or longer.
8 Tips To Prevent Postpartum Depression
#1 Ask for help!
- I wish I did more of this. Now, when I need help, I scream “I need help!” I never called or asked for help from anybody. Ask, your friends and family – they want to help you.
#2 Talk about PPD with everyone
- Tell friends you are struggling. Write about your birth. Write about your trauma. Draw a picture of how you are feeling. The postpartum time is really hard. Talk about it.
#3 Get adequate rest
- Sleep deprivation is real – especially if you’re a mom of multiples! Ask someone to watch the kids, sleep, and rest. The house will be a mess, let it be. You need to restore your health.
#4 Optimize nutrition
- It has been suggested women are lacking valuable nutrients during the postpartum period. When I opened my eyes after birth, it looked like a war zone! So much blood. With that amount of blood loss, we have to restore the body with valuable vitamins.
- Add these vitamins into your diet
- Essential Fatty Acids – important for a healthy nervous system. It is recommended to supplement with 1-3 g/day of fish oil with DHA and EPA to reduce depression.
- B vitamins – needed for the growth of red blood cells, energy levels, and proper nerve function
- Zinc – known to boost immunity, reduce viral illnesses and aid gut health, add Zinc to your diet to restore your overall health.
- Iron – A mineral vital to the proper function of hemoglobin, a protein needed to transport oxygen in the blood. Liver and red meat are the #1 sources of iron. If you are anemic, you can add in Floradix; a non-constipating, herbal iron supplement.
- Probiotics – If you’ve had a C-section or digestive issues, adding a probiotic 2-3 months after birth can help your body AND also reduce allergies in your child’s health. I like Klair probiotics.
#5 Eat often to prevent insulin drops
- Low blood sugar, can have a dramatic effect on your mood. Add in a healthy fat and protein with each meal.
#6 Incorporate botanicals to soothe anxiety
- Often we are afraid herbs will hurt our child. If there are no allergies, herbs can bring great comfort to both mom and baby. In fact, in Croatia, Chamomile is the first botanical given to mom after childbirth.
#7 Add adaptogens to ease sleep deprivation
- Adaptogens help us “adapt around stress”. These miracle herbs can help you overcome postpartum depression – naturally.
#8 Integrate medications when necessary
Is postpartum depression, baby blues?
There is a difference between Baby blues and postpartum depression. Baby blues are considered a “normal” postnatal hormonal adjustments. It begins day 3-4 and lasts up to 14 days. Symptoms include crying, irritability, fatigue, and anxiety.
*The key difference is baby blues are punctuated with periods of elation or happiness and postpartum depression is not.
When does postpartum depression start?
PPD can begin 2-3 weeks postpartum and can last up to a year or longer. Symptoms include agitation, anxiety and panic attacks, confusion, despair, guilt, hopelessness, loneliness, nightmares, thoughts of hurting oneself or baby. There are no punctuations of happiness or elation.
Where do you go for Postpartum Depression support?
Contact: Postpartum Support International
You can also contact our warmline directly and speak to a volunteer who will provide support, information, and resources where you live. Leave a message on our warmline 1.800.944.4773, and one of our volunteers will call you back asap. Calls are returned within 24 hours, and typically within a few hours of your request. If you are in crisis or need more immediate help…please call 911 or call the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.
I believe postpartum depression can be reduced when we begin nourishing and supporting our new moms. They need extreme nurturing and community – even when they don’t ask for it. With a postpartum plan – filled with valuable nutrients, herbs, adaptogens, support and community our moms can thrive with health. Enjoy this season of your life and embrace these changes, as you will be stronger than you were before.
When sleeping woman wake, mountains move – Chinese proverb
- Romm, Aviva: Botanicals Medicine For Women’s Health
- Fallon, Sally: Nourishing Traditions