Posted by The Vigilant Mom on May 11, 2012
Most moms know that pregnancy and parenthood changes your whole life. The change can be enormous. While almost everyone feels disoriented or anxious or exhausted (or all three!) after giving birth, some new moms experience symptoms that can be a little more extreme. They suffer from an almost constant feeling or despair and low self-esteem, a loss of interest or joy in most aspects of their life, problems concentrating and sleep issues. If you have recently given birth and are experiencing any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor or healthcare provider about post-partum depression, because you may have it.
The first step in dealing with post-partum depression is talking to your doctor about it. But what’s next? Counseling is usually recommended, and some doctors consider prescribing antidepressants. The problem is that some moms, especially breastfeeding moms, might be concerned about taking an antidepressant. You can talk to your doctor about whether the risks outweigh the benefits, but also know that whatever you choose, there are some other things you can do to support your recovery from post-partum depression.
First, get out into the world! Depression can make people sluggish and choose to languish indoors. But socializing, seeing friends, even taking a walk around your neighborhood can all help ease the burden of your condition. And silence that critical voice in your head: No one is a perfect mom. Every mom makes mistakes.
Secondly, consider taking some nutritional supplements. Some studies have found that Vitamin B6 and folic acid can be helpful in treating depression. Vitamin B6 helps the body to make serotonin and norepinephrine. And in patients already suffering from depression, researchers have found that those with lower levels of folic acid had worse symptoms of depression. Vitamin B12 has also been found to improve the symptoms specifically of post-partum depression in some patients. Vitamin C is also thought to be helpful as it can help convert tryptophan to serotonin in your brain.
Of course not all doctors are in agreement about how well nutritional supplements work, but I look at it this way: A little vitamin boost isn’t a bad thing, and it just might help. Regardless of your feelings about supplements, the first step in dealing with post-partum is talking to a qualified professional. You can overcome it.