Helping yourself

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Helping yourself

Even though new moms may be aware of the signs of postpartum depression, it can be tough to reach out.

Perhaps the paralysis comes from the fear of being stigmatized or a dread of the unknown (including the hesitation about antidepressant medications used for PPMD). Some women are so used to attending to others that they ignore their own needs. In other cases, moms think it’s normal to feel down for months after the birth. (The baby blues usually resolve within two weeks.) Although seeking help can feel intimidating, many women do reach out. They find that the many hands reaching back offer caring, knowledge, strength, and solid, practical support and advice.

Simple steps count

Besides seeking therapy or other treatments, you can take simple steps to help yourself through postpartum depression. You may be sad, exhausted or irritable, but recognize that these feelings are part of depression and recede with help.

Simple activities that can result in powerful healing:

  • Regular exercise
  • Massage therapy
  • Sleep
  • Acupuncture
  • Regular participation in a mothers/parents support group. Connecting with others who are going through similar parenting and personal experiences can provide a social support network and community for you.
  • Getting out of the house; goinig to the movies or engaging in activities that you previously enjoyed
  • Spending time with friends and confiding in trusted loved ones
  • Regular social activities with friends and/or family
  • Meditation
  • Breathing and relaxation techniques
  • Journaling and blogging

Please note that while such activities can be quite helpful, they should supplement—not replace—treatment or care from your medical or mental health provider.


Social support networks play an important role during stressful life transitions. That’s why family and friends are so important for recovery from postpartum depression. Also, don’t overlook how much other children pick up; kids know when something’s wrong. Don’t tell them, “Everything’s okay.” They know it’s not. It’s vital to let children know that when mom is irritable or sad, they did nothing wrong; mom still loves them and she’s getting help to feel better.

Join a community
It’s easy to think that you’re the only one who’s feeling sad, mad, or lonely after having a baby. Remember, hundreds of thousands of women in the United States and millions around the world each year experience postpartum mood disorders. You are not alone.

When depressed, the natural inclination is to withdraw. Yet reaching out to others is the most important action you can take. One of the easiest steps to take is to go online and read about others who share their stories similar to yours.

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Find Help

Locate mental health and well-being support organizations in your area.