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First of all, what are the risk factors for PPD and PPA?
Sometimes nothing - they do not always arise because of an ‘issue’ that we had.
They can just arise from major life change. But, there are a few risk factors such as prenatal or previous depression, life stress, lack of social support, marital dissatisfaction, unwanted pregnancy, history of sexual abuse, traumatic birth experience, high expectations of birth and/or parenting, physical problems with baby (or yourself), and problems with health providers.
A recent study by the University of British Columbia noted that about 17% of women experience postpartum depression - it is so common.
While normal, you do need to be aware about when you need help and when you should just give yourself a bit more time to recover.
While baby blues and some form of anxiety and depression are normal, if these feelings are starting to take over your life, if they are starting to spiral out of control, or if they get more intense, I would highly recommend getting help.
Managing your anxiety and depression - whether postpartum or not - is tricky. Everyone is different, but here are a few ways to manage your anxiety, no matter who you are or why you are struggling:
Build A Circle Of Support
First and foremost, build a circle of support. This is so important because feeling alone just enhances the feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression. It is so nice to know that you are not alone and that your circle of support is going through (or has gone through) the same thing(s) that you are currently going through. These people will be there to support you and help you through these new feelings and experiences. Having a good circle of support is essential for every mom, especially those that are battling PPA or PPD.
As I mentioned above, stress is a huge risk factor when it comes to postpartum anxiety or depression. In order to make sure that you do not keep packing on the stress, I need you to focus on resting. Postpartum in general requires a good amount of rest in order to have a great recovery, so please take it easy for the first few months of your new motherhood journey and even later on into your journey, if you start to feel anxious or stressed, know that it’s maybe time to have a laid-back day at home so that you can rest and recharge.
Ask For Help
I know how hard it can be to ask for help, but sometimes you just really need it, especially when it comes to benefiting your mental health. Do not be afraid to reach out to your family members or close friends - I am sure they will want to be there for you and to help you out. You would be there for them if you were in their shoes, so just think about it in that way. If you need help with household chores, or even just need someone to hold the baby for you for an hour while you shower and dry your hair, reach out. I cannot tell you how much this helps when you are feeling anxious and overwhelmed! If you cannot ask your family or friends for help, I highly recommend looking into a great babysitter, or even a postpartum doula!
No matter what you do, sometimes you just really need help from a professional and that is what your doctors and counselors are there for. If you talk to your doctor and they think that counseling might be very beneficial for you, or if you think that it will be beneficial for yourself, I highly recommend finding a counseling service that fits your needs. Busy? Find online therapy, like Ray of Hope Counseling Services offers. Want someone with professional or personal experience with what you’re going through? On their website, you can read about their therapists and see what their areas of expertise are before you book with them. Ray of Hope Counseling Services offers therapy in Athens, Marietta, Kennesaw, and five other locations throughout Georgia, so you can find a therapist, a location, and a time that works best for you and your needs.
Ready to feel relieved? Talk with a therapist!
Postpartum anxiety and/or depression does not just go away overnight. I still struggle to this day. But, if you try to do something about it when your negative thoughts and feelings first arise, I hope that your anxiety does not spiral out of control and that you are able to enjoy this motherhood experience of yours because it truly is amazing when you get help and manage your thoughts and feelings!
Have you suffered from anxiety? Postpartum anxiety? How did you cope? We want to hear from you!
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Hey Ya'll! My name is Amy, I am a girl mom (times two), married to one of my favorite guys, a daughter, a Jesus follower and so much more. I love preworkout and a great sweat, I collect books like trophies, I love to cook but hate a dirty kitchen. I love grungy country music, bell bottom pants, turquoise (the mineral) and converses. Our house is full of love and laughter as we navigate this busy life together, focusing on keeping the important parts of life the biggest parts, and building a healthy and safe place in our family of four!