Could the DIY Approach to Beating Postpartum Depression Hurt You?
As someone who worked as a therapist before becoming a stay-at-home mom, I highly recommend therapy to anyone and everyone.
We all have some sort of baggage in our lives that creates blind spots for us. And therapy can help us to remove those blind spots.
I especially recommend therapy for mothers who are experiencing postpartum depression (PPD).
But the thing about therapy is…
- It’s time-consuming.
- It can get expensive.
- There’s a little bit of stigma attached to it.
- And sure, in the age of the Internet, there’s so much self-help stuff online that you can DIY practically anything on your own.
I get it. Those same concerns have stopped me from getting therapy at certain times in the past.
But the truth is…
Although you’re a super woman because you’re a mom, you likely don’t know how to treat postpartum depression without the help of a therapist.
That’s why if you try to piece together articles from the Internet and learn how to treat postpartum depression yourself, you’ll likely fail. By the way, if you’d like some tips on how to beat postpartum depression, you can find them here.
Let’s take a closer look at exactly why the DIY method of postpartum depression treatment can actually hurt or cost you. But first…
What is Postpartum Depression?
Postpartum depression is a mental health disorder that a woman can begin to experience before or after childbirth and even up to a full year following the birth of her child. (You can learn more interesting postpartum depression facts here).
The signs of postpartum depression can include a sad or depressed mood, loss of interest in doing things that were previously interesting, a significant change in appetite and/or sleep, loss of energy, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, having trouble bonding with the baby, difficulty concentrating or making decisions, and in some cases, recurring suicidal thoughts or attempts. However, postpartum depression symptoms and feelings can vary from woman to woman.
And What Causes Postpartum Depression?
There is not necessarily a single cause for postpartum depression. However, some factors that can contribute to it include sudden hormonal changes after childbirth and constant sleep deprivation associated with caring for a newborn.
Other risk factors can include a personal or family history of mental illness, having a child that’s particularly difficult to care for, marital problems, and other significant stressors.
Why the DIY Approach to Beating Postpartum Depression Could Hurt You:
You could be neglecting a huge part of treatment.
A huge part of treating postpartum depression involves building a support system. So when you try to go it alone when it comes to dealing with postpartum depression, you’re missing out on the support you could be getting from a therapist or support group.
As a result, you’d be neglecting one of the biggest factors that could contribute to your success with overcoming postpartum depression.
When you don’t seek support for PPD, it can become more intense and take a lot longer for it to subside.
This means that it could end up costing you more time and money getting treated in the long run.
And depending on how well you’re functioning at home, it could also cause your time with your child to be less valuable. If you’re not functioning very well, you likely aren’t giving your child the time and attention he needs. And over an extended period of time, this can really affect your child and your parent-child relationship.
You’re not learning the skills you need to help you feel better in the future.
Therapy can teach you so much about yourself. It can help you realize your triggers, explore your thoughts and behaviors, and learn new ways of thinking and strategies to prevent mental health problems in the future.
So when you forego therapy, you’re missing out on learning strategies that could help you if you experience postpartum depression again… or even any negative feelings again. (Related Post: 1 Simple Method That Can Help with Postpartum Depression)
Not learning how to cope with PPD can affect your parenting and the relationship you have with your child.
Postpartum depression can have a huge effect on your baby. In fact, studies have shown that PPD can hinder your child’s ability to manage stress and regulate emotions. And babies whose mothers have PPD often tend to cry more and have less social engagement.
Even if you feel as though you’re keeping yourself together in front of your child, the smallest of interactions can affect your baby. So it’s very important to seek support for PPD.
Not learning how to cope with PPD can affect your relationship with your spouse or significant other.
Your partner may be experiencing his own problems with adjusting to the new baby. And he can also be affected by the stress of having a partner with PPD.
I mean, think about it… Many men might not even know what postpartum depression is, let alone how they can help you with it. And that can be very frustrating for your partner.
On top of that, when you have expectations about how your partner should support you, but that person doesn’t meet your expectations, it can cause a lot of tension.
You can feel even more overwhelmed the next time you become pregnant/have a child.
Experiencing PPD in the past is a risk factor for potentially experiencing it again. So if you plan on having another child, you’re less likely to feel prepared for PPD if you didn’t get help before.
Furthermore, if you didn’t get help before, you could still be experiencing problems associated with having PPD the first time around.
If You’re Guilty of Using the DIY Approach to Beating Postpartum Depression…
Perhaps you’re guilty of using the DIY approach and want a little extra guidance. Or maybe you’re in therapy and want to make sure you’re doing everything possible to learn how to deal with postpartum depression faster. Either way, I have an e-Book called After Baby Alterations: A Therapist’s Guide to Beating Postpartum Depression that will help you out tremendously. Check it out!
Do you have any words of encouragement to help other moms seek treatment for postpartum depression? If so, I would love it if you could share them in the comments below!
Disclaimer: Although I was a therapist before I became a stay-at-home mom, I am not your therapist. Reading this post does not enter you into a client-therapist relationship with me. The content in this post is meant to be used as a general guideline. It has not been individually tailored to your needs. If you are in need of therapeutic services, please seek the support of a mental health counselor.
American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.
The National Institute of Mental Health (n.d.). Postpartum Depression Facts. Retrieved from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/postpartum-depression-facts/index.shtml.
Nauert, R. (2009). Postpartum depression’s effect on the baby. Psych Central. Retrieved from https://psychcentral.com/news/2009/08/21/postpartum-depressions-effect-on-the-baby/7899.html.