Having a baby is one of the most joyous, exciting, and blessed part of a person’s life and marriage. The thought of looking into the eyes of someone you created with your spouse is priceless.
You feel all over the placed
You may have had daydreams of how life will be with your new bundle of joy, and feel like on cloud nine when you think about it. Now your baby is here and yes you feel a love you’ve never felt in your life; but you also feel sleep deprived, anxious, moody, sad, and all over the place. You find yourself excited one moment and emotional the next, and you’re not even pregnant anymore! It sounds like you can be suffering from Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorder (PMAD), better known as Postpartum Depression.
Over 3 Million women suffer from Postpartum Depression each year, this is a reported case which means it is likely to be more.
Postpartum depression is linked to chemical, social, and psychological changes associated with having a baby. While pregnant, your hormonal levels of progesterone and estrogen levels are extremely high and then drop dramatically after given birth.
Postpartum depression can be treated with medication and counseling
Due to hormonal levels fluctuating; there is a range of physical and emotional changes that many new mothers experience. This usually occurs in the first 4 to 6 weeks after giving birth, but can sometimes last past the child’s first birthday. The good news is postpartum depression can be treated with medication and counseling.
How do you get through it in the meantime?
The mood swings, the anxiety, the sleep deprivation seem to be beyond overwhelming, and your spouse thinks you may have turned into a monster.
Below are seven tips on how to work on this together as a couple:
Tell your doctor the truth
One that has changed in the past five years is that doctor offices, WIC, and pediatrician offices now do Postpartum Screenings.
This is a one-page questionnaire that is given to you when you have an infant or newborn and asks about your state of happiness, mood changes, and anxiety. Answering these questions as accurately and honestly as possible have lead many new moms to realizing they have Postpartum and didn’t even realize it.
Be authentic with your spouse
Being honest with yourself is the first step.
Once you’ve realized that there is something wrong and you don’t feel like yourself, it’s important to talk to your spouse about what your feeling. Describe what your mind and body are doing, and take them with you to your next appointment so that they can ask questions on how to better support you.
Join a support group
Once you’ve talked to your spouse, write a list of things that you feel may help you become new again. Go over this with your spouse, that way they know what is important to you right now, and perhaps they can help you with taking the baby while you go to a support group for new moms.
Being around someone who relates to what you’re going through may help you get through this time and uplift your spirits as you build a new support system if necessary.
Schedule alone time
Spending time alone with your spouse outside of your home is important for reconnecting with him or her. When you talk to your spouse make sure to plan a date night at least once a month (if financially possible and you can get a sitter). This will allow you to have something to look forward to with your spouse, and you may even want to get dressed and put on makeup!
Hire a cleaning service
Being a new mom can be exhausting.
You may not have the same time or energy you used to have, so hiring a cleaning service every now and then (if financially possible), may help relieve some stress. Having a clean space brings good feelings, and this will allow you more time to spend with the baby, go out to run errands, or even have coffee with a girlfriend.
Spending time with friends
Being vulnerable with your friends about what you are going through is important.
Just as it is important to spend time with your spouse, getting away for a girls’ night for a few hours can make you feel human again, even if it is only for a few hours. There is nothing like letting your hair down with your girlfriends!
Go to counseling if needed
If it has gotten to a point where you are still struggling and it is taking a toll on you and your spouse, talk about going to see a licensed therapist if needed. You can seek individual counseling or couples counseling.
Seeing a therapist can also help relieve the depression if you develop a plan. Couples counseling can help you work on things together as a couple, can increase communication, and also possibly help you reconnect to build if there has been a strain in the marriage.
Remember, even though Moms are superwomen-most of the time, communication and vulnerability is not a form of weakness.
Talking with your spouse, friends, and a professional can help you with the start of feeling human again during one of the best times of your life.
Remember, if you are thinking of harming yourself or your baby, please seek professional help, and always call 911 if you or your baby are in danger.
Want to have a happier, healthier marriage?
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.