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How to Cope with Postnatal Depression as a Single Mom

It’s widely known that postnatal period can be an extremely emotionally charged period. Many women experience an emotional roller-coaster after their first birth and this can oscillate from fear to joy and sadness. Postnatal depression can also be classified through symptoms such as difficulty with boding to your baby, irritability, insomnia and loss of appetite. It’s important to acknowledge this as being a completely normal state and you can find plenty of solutions on how to deal with it. While being very common, postnatal depression can be treated so there is no reason to be worried.

As a single mom is important to learn how to take care of yourself without always relying on someone. There are so many single moms thriving after they’ve experienced the same feelings as you do now. The famous movie actress Katie Holmes has also confronted with challenges of being a single mom and she was completely honest about her mental state explaining that: “You do the best you can. Some days you feel really good about yourself and some days you don’t”.

Take Good Care of Yourself 

We know how much priority a baby takes but this should not impede you from creating some time for yourself. When things are out of control you can always reach out for help. Consult with your friends, your mom or a babysitter and make some time to enjoy yourself more. It’s important to have a “me time” at least once a week so you can cope with the usual household responsibilities and depression. There are plenty of activities you might enjoy as a single mom so learn how to embrace this opportunity. 

Have a night out with your girls, go shopping, or even date someone. It doesn’t matter how hard it can get, is important not to get stuck in your routines because sometimes these contribute to your general emotional state. Learning how to take good care of yourself and doing out of the ordinary activities might help you more than you thought. 

Don’t Underestimate Psychotherapy 

Because psychotherapy is a treatment of choice for many single moms who struggle with postnatal depression, you should consider it as a priority when it comes to your mental health. Postnatal counselling, as doctor David Goodlad states, is the wisest manner to get to know yourself and cope with these feelings. It’s important to learn how to find agreeable ways to solve your problems and set goals so you can feel more in control and happier. Your psychotherapist will also recommend you antidepressants but you won’t have to worry because these are considered safe for when you breast-feed.  

Be Physically Active 

Being physically active will make your endorphins move therefore it can be helpful to have an activity from time to time. Studies have shown that having an active life may alleviate depression and its symptoms but before anything make sure you check with your doctor or psychotherapist. The following exercise guideline might come handy for you: 

0-3 weeks postnatal 

  • Pelvic exercises
  • Walking
  • Abdominal exercises

3-8 weeks postnatal 

  • It will be wise to wait until your six-week postnatal check before going back to the gym
  • Consider a Postnatal Class for pelvic floor and abdominal exercises

8-12 weeks postnatal

  • It is recommended you continue with guidelines for 3-8 weeks to gradually increase your flexibility and weights. 
  • Continue with postnatal abdominal muscle bracing. 

12-16 weeks postnatal 

  • Before returning to high impact exercises, make a check-up and see if your pelvic floor and abdominal muscles are prepared. 

After 16 weeks postnatal

  • Finally, you can return to your normal activities is you’re not experiencing any back pain, urine loss after you exercise. 
  • Don’t stop from seeking advice if you have any other symptoms. 

Meet Other Single Moms 

You probably know that you’re not alone in this. There are other moms in desperate need to have a conversation with someone who experiences the same challenges. Because humans are social creatures who constantly crave for interaction with others, isolating yourself won’t do any good. The wisest decision would be to resist isolation. 

We know how complicated it might be sometimes, but avoiding your social life is not an answer. New moms often feel lonely and overwhelmed by their new responsibilities.

 A good idea would be to seek or develop a group of moms with children of the same age so you can share the same experiences and cope with your feelings. This can also help you to boost your self-esteem and will give a sense of independence. If you struggle to create new relationships, you don’t have to panic. You can always join local groups where you can find other women who are in desperate need for friends and who are facing the same challenges with their new responsibilities. Make use of your social media account and don’t be afraid to meet old acquaintances. It is important to acknowledge that you’re not alone in this and there are many other women in the same situation as you are. 

 Build a Secure Bond with Your Baby 

Building a secure bond with your baby is more important than you think. Mother to child bonding is extremely beneficial for your child’s development. This might dictate the way he’ll form a relationship and communicate throughout his life. You know you have a bond with your baby at the moment you feel the need to pick him up, or when you reassure him after he cries. Some mothers, feel an immediate rush of love as soon they set their eyes on their babies, while for others it might take some time. If you haven’t bonded with your little one yet, don’t be worried, it’s perfectly normal to feel the need for some “me time”. 

Every mother you’ve met, including yours, have experienced the same symptoms after their first birth. It’s important to remember that postnatal depression is not about whether you love your child or not. It might take some time to cope with all these new feelings but it doesn’t mean there is no solution.

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