A First Time Mommy's Take On Surviving Post Natal Anxiety & Depression
1. Go see a doctor or a psychiatrist ASAP. There is no shame in having to take a "chill
pill" to help you cope.
2. Here I might get crucified by the masses: Breastfeeding doesn't always come naturally and although breast is best, if you feel you can't stand breastfeeding consider formula... I was adamant that I would breastfeed but the post natal depression & anxiety made having anyone let alone my baby so close to me unbearable. It was detrimental to my relationship with my baby as I started resenting breastfeeding and what should have been a bonding experience made me feel that I wanted to be worlds apart from my little one. It was a difficult choice and I was wracked with guilt but after 3 weeks I decided to put my baby on to formula. Slowly but surely I started wanting to cuddle my baby, slowly but surely I felt a teensy bit more rested as daddy could help take over a feeding or two which also made him feel important. I take my hat off to breastfeeding mommies and I wish I could be as brave as they are to stick it out but now I believe that although breast is best a relationship with your baby is far more important.
3. Just like breastfeeding, bonding with your baby doesn't come naturally to all mommies either. Don't chastise yourself it will get there slowly but surely.
4. Everyone is going to to tell you to get out of the house, to go places, to do things... Try it but if it makes you feel worse STOP AND TRY AGAIN ONCE YOU FEEL UP TO IT. Be kind to yourself and don't force things, take baby-steps you will eventually be ready to face the world ON YOUR TERMS.
5. Get up, shower and get dressed. Having clean hair, a clean face and clean teeth is balm for the soul.
6. If certain things or people trigger your anxiety then steer clear. Eventually you'll get to a place where you are strong enough to face these things again.
7. Feeling guilty about almost everything comes with the territory of being a new mommy. You can only do the best that you can do and that is good enough.
8. Get fresh air and sunlight for at least 5min every day.
9. Get a craft or an activity that you will enjoy and take time to do this every day (even if it is just 10min a day)
10. Talk to other mommies who might be going through the same struggles as you. Just keep in mind that everyone experiences things differently. Some get over things much easier and quicker and others take a bit longer. Try not to compare yourself or be dismayed when you are the latter.
11. Be there for another mommy who is going through a similar experience.
12. If you can't bear to eat then get yourself a meal replacement shake like ensure or something similar.
13. Vitamin B complex injections really help.
14. I found that food with preservatives; sugar-loaded food & fizzy drinks made my anxiety worse.
There aren't many things that can compare to the fear, sadness, isolation, guilt and desperate despair a person feels when dealing with PND but it does eventually get to a point where, though the feelings might still be there, you are no longer constantly plagued by them and you are able to cope much better. Take things day by day, step by step and even minute by minute. Although we can't rush things we have to believe that one day we will get to a point where motherhood will no longer be a daunting uphill battle but a experience filled with joy and happiness.