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Natural Treatments For Postpartum Depression
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Natural Treatments for Postpartum Depression

Hi Everyone. Today I would like to offer some helpful advice on a topic very close to my heart - postnatal/postpartum depression. I have a 16 month old daughter, and I was diagnosed with this condition when she was about 8 months old. This is typically later than is usually picked up, but due to various extra stresses in my life - everything became too much. Does this sound familiar to you?

Questions For You

Do you feel sad, numb, melancholy? Do you feel like this should be one of the most special and amazing times in your life, but is feels like the opposite? Do you feel lonely, isolated, like no-one understands how you are feeling or what you have to deal with on a daily basis? Are you no longer feeling much joy in caring for your child? Do you feel angry at your child sometimes? Do you feel like your life is over and it will never be the same? If your partner is around, do you feel like they just don't get it? If you answered yes to a few of the above questions then I would honestly make an appointment with your health practitioner and tell them how you are feeling.

My Personal Experience - Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

My personal experience was that I booked in to see the child health nurse because my daughter was so unsettled and just irritable all the time. I was absolutely exhausted from spending all my energy in looking after her. The nurse asked me a few questions and I just started crying. My main feeling was just being completely overwhelmed, but I just put it down to being SO EXHAUSTED. There is a difference though between exhaustion and depression. I went to see my local doctor and she referred me to a psychiatrist who specialises in postnatal depression, and uses CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy). I couldn't believe that my life had come to this, but I went to the appointment anyway. 8 months later and I am still seeing the psychiatrist, and I feel like a different person. I have done quite a few other natural treaments as well - which I will explain now.

Natural Treatments

St Johns Wort

As regular client with a naturopath, I was prescribed St Johns Wort. This herb is commonly used as an anti-depressant. The psychiatrist was very keen to get me on a pharmaceutical anti-depressant, but I refused becasue of the potential side effects. I was also still breastfeeding so was concerned about the effects on my child. St Johns Wort made me feel so much clearer in the head and made my moods so much happier - naturally and without side effects. The main side effects of St Johns Wort are interaction with the Pill and also susceptibility to increased photosensitivity.

Massage

I am such a fan of massage, but because we had very little money, I was unable to get regular massages after our baby was born. Massage is a really important natural modality. Touch is so important for humans, particularly with a condition such as depression when you feel so detached from the world, and your body and mind. Massage can assist bringing back awareness of these elements in a nurturing and caring way. I now get regular massages and feel the benefits increasing all the time.

Exercise & Supplements

It is imperative that you get out into the world and get some exercise and a bit of sunlight. Vitamin D which we convert via sunshine is known as the happiness vitamin. Exercise boosts endorphins - feelgood hormones. Supplements that can be beneficial include fish oil, a good multivitamin, spirulina (for energy) and there are many herbs that can help. All of these should be prescribed by a trained professional.

Sleep

Finally, I know that it is usually very elusive and like the holy grail for new parents - but SLEEP is so important. I know you have heard it before, but try to get a rest when your baby does. Sleep deprivation is so detrimental not only for yourself but for your baby and family. If you need help with settling your baby, make an appointment with a specialist child nurse who is trained to help with these issues. Take sometime out for yourself if possible, even a nice soak in a hot bath for an hour can do the world of good. Remember that you are still important.


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