How To Recover From Postpartum Depression

Reviewed by Laura Angers, LPC

Published 06/24/2022

When it comes to postpartum depression, there are treatment options available, which can be utilized to recover from it. However, to understand how these treatments work, it is crucial to know other details about the condition. Here is a look at what postpartum depression is, what may cause it, who is most likely to experience it, and what can be done to treat it.

Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression is a type of depression that a mother may experience after giving birth to a new baby. You could also see it referred to as perinatal depression, which refers to during pregnancy or after pregnancy, but many people don't distinguish. So, what is post-natal depression? It is the same thing. These are all terms for the same type of depression experienced by women soon after having a child.

It is considered a severe form of depression, so it requires treatment to recover. This is because the symptoms can be quite severe. Additionally, since many changes occur in a mother's body, including drastic changes in hormones, this is thought to be a possible reason women can experience depression soon after delivery.

Risk Factors

There are a few risk factors that could make it more likely that you will experience postpartum depression.

  • Young moms may be more likely to experience PPD.
  • If you don't have a lot of support or do not have a partner, you may be at a higher risk.
  • When a woman already experiences depression or has experienced it in the past, this may be a factor.
  • If you are unsure if you wanted a child, this could be a factor in experiencing PPD.

Symptoms

If you experience symptoms of postpartum depression, be sure to take this postpartum depression test to find out more information. There are other types, like this postpartum depression quiz, in case you decide you want to look into more than one.

  • Feeling sad
  • Not showing much emotion
  • Experiencing little to no pleasure
  • Decreased libido
  • Unable to bond with the child
  • Feeling in a panic or anxiety
  • Sleeping too little
  • Not eating enough
  • Feeling moody

Do I Have Postpartum Depression?

Anyone that experiences multiple symptoms such as those listed above should get checked out. Visit with your doctor so they can determine if you have PPD. They will know what to do next and work with you to develop a treatment plan tailored to you.

Postpartum Depression In Men

Something else that you should be aware of is that men can experience PPD as well. They are more likely to experience it if their spouse is as well. The specifics about how it looks in men aren’t as well defined as in women, as is published in a 2019 study. However, a dad will have similar symptoms, such as feeling down and have poor mood management. The treatments for men's postpartum depression are also similar to treatment for postpartum depression in women.

Treatments

There are essentially two types of treatments used to treat PPD: psychotherapy and medications. These things are usually used together for a more extensive approach. Of course, it is generally not safe for a mom to take many types of prescriptions while breastfeeding, so this is something that your doctor is likely to discuss with you when you meet with them.

When you notice that you might have signs of postpartum depression, you should get support from a licensed professional, so you will start to feel more like yourself. This type of depression can cause you to feel no pleasure, not make decisions, and act much differently from you previously did. This may be something you want to change when possible and is also something you should discuss with your psychiatrist.

Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy or "talk therapy" can be a useful tool for mothers since they will be able to talk to a therapist about how they feel, the new things that are causing them stress, and other new aspects of daily life that may be contributing to their postpartum depression. In turn, a doctor will teach you tools that you can use to limit stressors, work on your moods, and begin to think differently about yourself and others. A study in the Canadian Family Physician explains how important this type of therapy is for moms.

Prescriptions

Medicines may also be prescribed to help lessen certain symptoms that are being experienced. These medicines are similar to those prescribed when someone is suffering from other types of depression and won't be necessary in every case. However, if you are interested, you should talk to your psychologist or doctor about it to decide if it is something that will help you.

What Else You Can Do

You can start doing other things in your life as you are going through your treatment plan.

Build Up Your Support System

Even before the baby is born, do your best to create a network of friends and loved ones to count on after the baby comes. You never know when you will need something or want to call on someone to babysit or do a special task for you. This is especially important because they can offer you advice and tell you other things about motherhood that you do not know already, in some cases.

Reach Out For Help

When you have a support system, you can get support from others when you need it. Even if you need something as simple as a load of clothes washed, there may be someone that cares about you that has time to come and do that for you, but you won't know if you don't ask. On the other hand, even when you are in treatment for PPD, you don't have to keep it to yourself if you have bad days. You can talk to your friends, partner, or therapist about how you feel when you have trying moments. This is to be expected.

Get Some Sleep

Sleeping enough can be particularly hard for a new parent, but it is still important. A good thing to do is take naps when your child does and do your best to get some hours at night when this is feasible. After a few months, you will likely be able to work out a sleeping schedule that works for you and your baby.

Eat Real Food

At times, you may not feel like doing much, and eating right is likely not on the top of your list. However, eating healthy foods doesn't have to be difficult. Do your best to add fresh fruits and vegetables to what you are already eating until you can take the time to start cooking more often.

Get Moving

Exercising just a few times each week may be able to make a big difference in your mood and how you feel about yourself. You will also be doing something positive for your health. Be sure to do low impact exercises until the doctor tells you that you can exercise as normal. These are things like walking, yoga, and swimming.

Take Mommy Time

Even though your life is full of taking care of your family and your baby, you should take time to do something for yourself as well. This can be something as simple as taking a bath or watching an episode of your favorite TV show, but it can make a lot of difference simultaneously. Taking just a few minutes for yourself can give you some time to relax and work through things that have been bothering you.

Stay Social

When you cannot visit with people face to face, there are also many resources available online that you can take advantage of. Don't isolate yourself. For example, if you are a member of mommy groups or are friends with many people you care about on social media, this is a place you can get a lot of support as well. You can utilize these sites to video chat, send messages, and even ask for advice. Be sure to use it to your advantage when you can't be with the people you care about.

Outlook

Depression doesn't have a cure, but when someone experiences postpartum depression signs, they may be able to see relief from some of these symptoms in a matter of months. Of course, this is more likely to happen when a woman (or man) takes advantage of mental health treatment options and institutes positive changes into their routine like the ones mentioned above. After a while, you may feel like some of your symptoms are gone and start to feel better. Just hang in there, because it takes a different amount of time for every person.