Depression, Anxiety and Parenting
Before a baby or child comes into a family, there is usually much excitement and preparation. Yet, we are never truly prepared for how that change is going to impact us emotionally or physically. For some parents, the transition seems to go smoothly at first but then the toll of being on 24/7 for months starts to wear them down. For others, they feel surprised that they are not “happy” right away while they find things get easier over time. The cliff seems steeper for some of us to climb than it does for others.
Finding support with groups, friends, doctors, or counselors is so helpful. Taking care of ourselves with regular exercise, nutrition, sunlight, and naps is something that is vital for us to do. It is essential to listen to our bodies and to find balance in our new normal.
I am by no means an expert but I find it helpful to read and listen and to have good resources on hand. I don’t need to reinvent the wheel. So I have compiled some of my favorite links all in one place so they are accessible.
So what does PPD or anxiety look like? It may be different than you thought. Each person’s experience can be distinct because of our own personalities, child’s personality, backgrounds, situations, support and so forth.
Plain English – symptoms (I love this one for the basics!)
La Leche League International (specifically breastfeeding related)
Postpartum Support International
PPD handouts and information (Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, Ph.D., IBCLC, FAPA has wonderful books and research information as well)
Postpartum Support Charleston (this is for my families in SC)
Women’s Health.gov Depression During and After Pregnancy Fact Sheet
There are different support groups in place for women, men or other types of parents or those supporting their loved ones. Depression, anxiety and other mental health issues are not gender exclusive.
Dads at Risk Too
Postpartum Dads / Partners
How Ryan Heffernan Beat the Blues after his Son’s Birth
There is wonderful data out there that exercise and omega 3’s are paramount to our health, especially in the case of depression or anxiety. Talking to a nutritionist and starting exercise (especially with a friend or two for support) can really help get us started on the road to healing. Some people find that they do need herbal or medical options. Breastfeeding should not be a reason NOT to seek medication or support. There ARE plenty of reliable sources for information that you can speak with your health care team about as you decide what treatment plan will work for you.
Infant Risk (medications)
Depression and New Mothers:
Although there is some risk associated with antidepressant use, the risk of untreated depression may be even greater. And all risks and benefits must be carefully weighed for each mother. – See more at: http://www.infantrisk.com/content/antidepressant-usage-during-pregnancy-and-breastfeeding#sthash.AYzSww1o.dpuf
Is this Safe while Breastfeeding?
Postpartum Depression Treatment: Medication
NPR show – findings and treatments
Safe Space Radio (I love this session – it is great for all breastfeeding supporters to listen to!)
Some parents feel depression or sadness around weaning. Some feel pressure to wean when they or their child are not ready. There is no reason to wean if you are depressed or need medications. Know that if you do decide to wean, doing it gently and with love is best for both your baby AND you.
Weaning and Depression
Comfort Measures during Weaning
Native Mothering Guide to Weaning
There are a lot of myths around sleep, especially when it comes to breastfeeding. It is helpful to understand what is working for you in your home and situation. If you are exclusively breastfeeding, there are often those (well meaning though they may be) who offer the suggestion of weaning at night, CIO (Cry It Out) or other ideas that are actually counterintuitive of helping the family get real rest.
The Effect of Feeding Method on Sleep Duration, Maternal Well-Being and Postpartum Depression
Exclusively Breastfeeding Mothers Get MORE Sleep
Sleep Management and PPD
Secrets of Baby Behavior – Dealing Realistically with Postpartum Sleep Deprivation
10 Things NOT to Say to Sleep Deprived Parents
Breastfeeding Today – Nighttime Breastfeeding
How “Never Bedshare” Leads Breastfeeding Moms to More Dangerous Behaviors
These tools and links are not meant to be a substitute for real, in person, counseling. They are however, helpful in getting those you love or yourself help and support. They are shared here to help you move forward in getting more mental health service with a trained professional on your team.
Anxiety and Depression Association of America
Out from the Shadows
Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine – Establishing the Fourth Trimester
Guilt is one of those things that seem to come with parenting. And many of the decisions we face, only seem to have clarity after the fact. We can’t “shoulda, coulda, woulda” ourselves. Know that you are doing the best you can at the time and feel proud that you are reaching out for support.
PPD and Breastfeeding Challenges: The Connection
5 Things Not to Say to a Woman with Postpartum Depression and What to Say Instead
Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine – Shame, Guilt and Common Ground
How to Protect Yourself in the Workplace if You’re Suffering From Postpartum Depression
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline