Coping is the operative word here!
Almost everyone involved with helping support women with postpartum depression (PPD) have three key sentences of advice that they immediately offer:
"You are not alone."
"It is not your fault."
"You will get better."
The first way to cope is to memorize those three sentences and tell them to yourself whenever you feel like not coping, or not coping very well. Write them on "post it" notes and place them in places you will frequently see them.
It helps to know you are not alone. That means to find support for yourself, either with other women who are going through or have gone through the same thing. A support group can be invaluable. See your health care provider and get yourself checked out physically. Medication may be suggested. Don't dismiss the idea right away...for some women with PPD, it is a true life saver and needing it nothing to be ashamed of. It doesn't mean you're weak or damaged or will become an addict.
Here's where to remember it's not your fault! It's your biology, your genetics, your hormones, your pre-pregnancy psychological make-up, your personality, etc., etc., etc. All things that are out of your control. But all things that can be handled. All you can control are your responses and reactions. PPD won't go away by pulling yourself "up by the bootstraps"! If you're not responding and reacting to these factors and new stresses in a way that's helpful for you, get professional help and support from others to help you through this difficult time.
It's a challenge, but remember, you will get better! It sounds cliché, but "this too shall pass". Knowing that your distress is time-limited can be a huge relief! That doesn't minimize how challenging life can be with a new baby, lack of sleep, anxiety, and what may feel like overwhelming sadness. Hopefully, reminding yourself that you won't feel like this forever should help you cope.
Be hopeful. Never be afraid to ask for help!
More Answers from Marcia Starkman