In this article I'd like to offer you a few suggestions for helping with for Baby Blues and Post Natal Depression (PND).
Back in the days when homeopathy was being formalized, depression was referred to mostly as 'sadness'. These days we all know that depression can be a whole lot more than 'feeling sad'.. and we also have the biochemical evidence to back up our observation that all kinds of life events can be the cause of mental symptoms which not only feel really bad, make us feel uncomfortable and are often downright scary.
I think of Baby Blues as a natural hormonal response following the incredible event which is 'giving birth'. Think of how hard the body has worked over the previous nine months, growing a new being, copying DNA, putting together the colossal task that is reproducing the blue print of a human being. The birth itself is a trauma for Mum and Bub, and then her body must make enormous adjustments so - isn't it understandable that some weapiness and anxiety will be there? It lasts a few days. Keep an eye on blood sugar levels during this time. Small regular meals are an important key.
But if your feelings of sadness and being overwhelmed have continued.. or have appeared some months later then you must take some action and seek help.
Do you feel tired all the time?
Do you feel guilty about feeling tired?
Do you feel stressed, angry or find yourself crying easily?
Are you not interested in sex any more?
Are you having any emotions.. maybe you feel numb?
ISSUES THAT ARE COMMON TO MANY NEW MUMS
Disappointed with the birth?
Did your birth experience go as planned? We prepare for the event with exercises and negotiating the best possible situation for the safety of baby, but if things don't go according to plan - maybe you had to have an epidural or forceps delivery, or a cesarean... then its natural that feelings of disappointment, resentment or even anger can build up and these can be a factor in triggering depression.
Did they tell you the truth?
Did anyone really tell you - I mean sit you down and really tell you the TRUTH.. about how very demanding and tiring it is to have a baby and then take care of him or her, day after day, night after night? Very likely - NO.. and if this has been your second child, did they tell you that the second child is NOT like having JUST ANOTHER BABY.. no, no, no.. a second child is much more work than that!!
Babies get sick!
Then there are the possible problems, colic, skin troubles, colds and little infections, coughs that won't clear up..
Your support network
And support - how much support are you getting? Is everyone's attention on the new baby and none on you?
Sleep and time off
Lay down and sleep whenever baby does.. I know you feel as though you must 'get on with things'.. but sleep and rest are more important than the washing..
You need to have some time off, time for yourself.. relatives can be so helpful. When my babies were small I found a local school girl who came in at 3.15 every week day and looked after both children in another room, or took them for a walk in the pram.. for two hours while I cooked the dinner.
Routine Routine Routine.. a Life Saver!!
Find a routine that works for everyone. If you know that rest times are coming then you can make it through these hours. We used to have tea at five, bath at six and bed at seven and my husband and I swapped days for bathing, washing the dishes and getting the babies to sleep and then having tea in bed the next morning. It worked a treat and we did it for years and years..! So every other day I knew that I could bath with the kids, relax while they were put to bed and have my tea in bed.
Just do what you can manage
Keeping up with the housework and the shopping? Its a HUGE lifestyle change to go from a regular job where you have support and boundaries - to being at home with a new bub. Just do what you can manage each day. If you can't breastfeed for some reason, never mind.. baby will be benefiting from your love and will grow strong and healthy in your care. So - these are all perfectly normal situations and needs and I often thought that it was a miracle if a new MUM didn't show any signs of mild depression!
SERIOUS DEPRESSION SYMPTOMS
Feeling overwhelmed, tired and a bit irritable during the early months of motherhood are quite common and to be expected. However, it can feel much more than this on occasion.
Do you have outbursts of irritability or even violent anger?
Do you want to shake the baby in order to get him or her to stop crying?
Do you have suicidal thoughts?
Do you feel like just walking out and disappearing?
These are a few of the symptoms that can indicate more severe post natal depression
Please seek help from your doctor, local support group and relatives. Anti depressant drugs can be helpful but do give natural medicines a good try. And, if you have a history of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder you MUST seek help as soon as you notice any depressive symptoms following childbirth.
Homeopathy can really help and you also need daily support and company, exercise, good sleep, good food, hugs and treats and lots of smiling and laughing.
ESSENTIAL DAILY LAUGHING EXERCISE
One little tip I used a lot for my depressed clients was to prescribe a good laugh at least once a day. The release of laughter, from a joke or watching a funny movie...even of you don't feel like laughing when you put the film on.. will release floods of those much needed chemicals in the brain.
It really does work.. please give it a try! Our bodies do have the power to heal themselves, but sometimes not in the way we think they will.
There are some fabulous remedies for reducing many of the symptoms of baby blues and post natal depression. Read through these little remedy snapshots and if you find one that fits some of your symptoms.
This great remedy has helped many thousands of women around the world. You feel a bit numb, no feelings, very tired and irritable and have no libido at all. You have this dragging down feeling in the abdomen, you period is heavy and achy. Have a look in the mirror. Have you got a saddle mark across your check and nose, either a yellowish tinge or a bit darker, perhaps some freckles? This is a classic Sepia symptom.
2. NAT MUR
Famous for treating depression, Nat Mur is basically common salt made into a powerful medicine. Do you feel weepy and as though you aren't coping, but you don't want to show it or tell anyone about it. In fact in anyone does offer some sympathy that will really annoy you! You notice that you feel cold a lot of the time, with a physical weakness and lack of stamina. Other symptoms might include headaches, more thirsty than usual, lips feel dry and maybe even cracked.
This is a remedy that seems full of contradictory states. Are you feeling anxious, always checking that the baby is OK? Find your moods change frequently? Are you sighing a lot! People will notice it and maybe ask what you are sighing about. How about coffee and tobacco... Ignatia cannot bear either smells or tastes.. so this would be quite a strong symptom post baby. Are you worried about your weight? Looking at diets to loose the pounds you put on while you were pregnant? These are all good indications that Ignatia would be helpful for you.
We give this remedy after a Cesarean section, to help the would to heal quickly and in case the woman has felt angry or upset during any aspect of the whole birth procedure. Are you finding that you need to talk to people about your birth experience and especially if there are aspects of it that have upset you emotionally. A couple of doses of Staph will release all of those feelings and let you move on in a positive frame of mind.
5. KALI PHOS
I put all my new Mums on this remedy as a Tissue Salt, twice daily for at least a couple of months after the baby is born. It helps to bring your energy levels back up gently, and can make sleep deeper and more refreshing.
6. ARS ALB
Now then, Ars Alb friends.. don't offended by these questions! Do you feel really anxious and fearful about the whole business of being a Mum? Worry all the time that baby will catch some illness? Need to have everything tidy and in its place? The house must be clean and all the washing done; shopping and meals prepared and on the table; baby should be clean and tidy in case any visitors come? Do you really need to have someone else close by who you can rely on if the worst happens?
Thats OK!! This is your nature and there's nothing wrong with all that, AT ALL..
Well, your natural anxieties may be causing you a higher level of stress than you need right now.. and a dose of Ars Alb every now and again will really help you to cope better with your own inner drives. A couple of other physical symptoms that Ars Alb people usually experience are.. feeling cold a lot of the time, can't sleep easily, feel generally better in warm dry weather, love acidic foods and drinks and especially coffee.
This remedy has quite distinct symptoms during this time. You feel worse when you first wake up in the morning - kind of sluggish and not able to think clearly. You desperately need a sleep in the afternoon but know that you'll feel bad again when you wake up from your nap. You do feel better if you can have a good chat with a friend or relative, get all of your anxieties out in the open. Talking does make you feel better!
You don't like hot places, can't bear to wear anything tight around your waist, and tend to have physical problems like sore throats more on the left side of your body.
Imagine the little pulsatilla flower, alone in the middle of the vast steppes Russia. It blows this way and that way in the wind! It sits in sandy soil, and closes its petals when it gets hot and at night. SO - the pulsatilla woman loves the fresh open air and finds her moods very changeable. She can be chilly and cries very easily.. sometimes just weeping for no particular reason. You like sympathy and support and rely on your partner for comfort. Not thirsty? that's very pulsatilla.. you have to be reminded to drink. ( If you are breastfeeding your body will be giving you stronger signals of thirst than you usually have.)
Also are you a bit clumsy and uncoordinated? Swollen ankles and wrists? Don't like fatty foods? These are just a selection of the remedies I have prescribed very successfully over the last 20 years for baby blues and post natal depression.