Self Help Strategies

These can certainly help you however; on the days when you feel low you may find it hard to help yourself. Try not to be too despondent and try some of these strategies on your better days. Remember, you will get there, though it may take time. The following are some useful tips that mothers have found helpful during their postnatal depression:

Tiredness makes symptoms of PND worse, and although it may be difficult to try and rest, it will really help if you can. If possible try and rest when the baby does, forget the housework, if you can, it can wait.

Low blood sugar levels can affect mood changes and anxiety levels so by eating regularly and often can help. Carbohydrates rather than sugars will help to keep your levels stable. If you are unable to eat a large meal than eating small amounts and often will be just as helpful. Mothers have recommended Complan if you are finding it difficult to eat ‘proper’ foods.

Don’t push yourself to do things that you feel are unable to do, you will be able to do these things again eventually. Make everything you have to do as easy as possible and try not to feel guilty about it. Treat yourself as if you have a physical illness and ask for help if you can.

Think of things to do that take hardly any effort but might just pass some time. Don’t expect to feel better but maybe just less bad for a few minutes. For example, pluck your eyebrows; watch a video, look at pictures in a magazine. Over time you’ll start to enjoy things again and you can begin to plan more ambitious activities for you and your children. When you do get some enjoyment from doing something, write it down to remind yourself and try to do it more often.

If you feel up to it, take some exercise, even a short walk can help to lift your mood.

Try to keep a journal. Write down all your worst fears and pour your heart out. It’s really important to make a note of when you’re feeling a bit better so you can look back on it, as sometimes it can be difficult to remember the better times. It doesn’t matter if it has just been for half an hour; it’s really good to acknowledge that improvement.

If you are into alternative therapies they can be helpful, cranial osteopathy, massage, reflexology and others may be useful.

Try not to compare yourself to other mums. You are doing the very best you can in incredibly difficult circumstances. They might be going to baby massage classes and bulk baking fresh organic meals for the family but they aren’t trying to cope with PND at the same time so there is really no comparison. You will have many, many years ahead for you to do all these ‘super mum’ things.

Find someone to talk to, either through your GP and health visitor or through national organisations such as the NCT, 0870 4448707 or The Association for Postnatal Illness, 0207 386 0868.

Remember, although it may often feel like it, PND doesn’t last forever. You will recover. There will be good days and bad days with eventually the good days becoming more and more until the bad days have gone.