Let down after birth
Hello I am a 45 year old mother.
I read about post partum depression and because I waited so long to have my baby, I really did not think it would happen to me. I am just miserable. Every time the baby cries, which is often because she is teething, I just want to walk away and never look back. I know I would never harm my sweetie, but I really wish I could feel better.
Are there any natural remedies for depression? I would not want to go to the doctor with this.
Hi Cutiecat, thanks for sharing your feelings with us. Just know that you are not alone in feeling the way you do, many women (including myself) have suffered from post-natal depression. Have you spoken to your partner or anyone close to you about how you are feeling? Sometimes talking to someone who understands and cares as well as getting some help can make a world of difference.
There are some natural ways to support you with depression, firstly - are you eating well and looking after yourself? B vitamins (particulary B6 and Folic Acid) are very important for stress, anxiety, energy and well-being. As is eating a healthy balanced diet with lots of fresh fruit, vegetables, protein, essential fatty acids, nuts, seeds and wholegrains. Try to avoid sugary foods as they will just play havoc with your blood sugar levels/hormones/mood. Also avoiding caffeine and alcohol as they can increase anxiety, depression and mood swings. St Johns Wort is a herbal remedy that can be useful for depression, but you do need to be careful if you are breastfeeding when taking herbal supplements. SAM-e is another natural supplement that has been used successfully to aid depression.
Please feel free to talk to us here at any time you need to..
I'm so sorry to hear how you are feeling. But, as Briony says, you are not alone. I suffered from post traumatic stress after the birth of my son and experienced post natal depression. I have heard it can be more common if you had problems conceiving or it took a long time for you to fall pregnant - perhaps this is true in your case?
My advice (from my experience) would be to keep talking through all your feelings. Did you find the birth traumatic? If so, you may find talking to your midwives through the 'after thoughts' service useful. I found it helpful to go through my medical notes and talk in detail about what had happened during the birth and how far it was from my hopes/ expectations.
I also found talking to a friend who had been through a similar experience extremely helpful. Around 1 in 6 women suffer with post natal depression so it is very common. I felt guilty and ashamed of my feeling and tried to hide them and give the impression that everything was fine. I would recommend that if anyone offers to help with the baby or perhaps the cooking or the housework - you let them! You don't have to cope alone. If you did decide to see your GP then remember it is very common and they will be used to helping women in your situation.
As Briony says; it's important to eat a healthy, balanced diet when you are feeling this way - but I know how hard this is with a baby. You could try fresh fruit smoothies (or ready made if this is easier). Vitamin B1 is important - you can get this in mangoes, oranges, pineapples and watermelons. Vitamin B2 is in: bananas, passion fruit, grapes, dates, mangos and many other fruit and veg. You can get B3 in: avocado, lychee, mango, nectarine, peaches. All these are particularly important if you are also breastfeeding.
I was also wondering if you had tried baby wearing? This helped me to bond with my son and also kept him calm - he liked being close to me. Plus, your hands are free so you can eat! There is also some evidence that it can help to reduce post natal depression.
We are here for you on this forum - it's a great place to support each other.
Dear Birthinbalance and Ljmarsden,
Thank you for all your wonderful suggestions and support. I do carry my daughter everywhere I go so I am going to look into this "baby wearing" idea. I take a lot of vitamins and do truly try to eat very healthy diet. I will pop into the local and get some St John's Wort and see if it helps.
Thank you for listening.
That all sounds positive! We're here for you whenever you need some extra support or just a place to chat about your feelings. I think being a mum is amazing but it's certainly not easy! LJ
Laura-Jane and Briony have given you some great advice and suggestions. I believe that one of the biggest contribuing factors to post-partum depression can be a chemical imbalance in the body/brain caused by the stress that pregnancy puts on the body, the stress of birth, and the fact that baby takes a large amount of nutrients from your body during the 2nd and 3rd tri-mester (especially the 3rd).
I'd like to try to help you figure out just exactly what your body may need (on a chemical/nutritional level) in order to help lift your mood so that you can cope better and enjoy this time with your Precious so much more!
Please let me know what supplements you are taking and how much you are taking of each. Brands would be helpful too as I'd like to see if you're supplements are high enough in quality that your body is actually able to use them (if they have a high bio-availability). Be sure to be accurate in how often you are taking these supplements. If you aim to take something twice a day but only manage to get it in once a day make sure that you let me know this too.
Some other things that may help me be able to give you some suggestions would be knowing your blood type and if you seem to notice any digestive issues (i.e. burping, gas, skin problems, etc.). If you have a week digestive system this can also cause the body to not be able to get very much nutrition from the healthy diet you are eating.
And on that note, knowing your blood type along with what your typical diet looks like will also give me a picture of how well your body is able to digest those foods. Some foods act as medicines/healing to our body while others can act as poisons.
Do you have any other health challenges other than just the post-partum depression?
Oh - and one very important nutrient I would suggest you pick up right away is a Vitamin B supplement called Inositol (this is one of the "B" vitamins). Inositol helps to naturally elevate mood and can be used during breastfeeding. I can give you suggestions on how much to take and how often once I know you've got some to take. I'd suggest you pick up the powdered form that you can mix with unsweetened applesauce or yogurt. It's sweet and has a very pleasant taste (I can't even taste it in my appleasuce, and I take it every day).
I look forward to helping you more and hearing about your journey of healing from post-partum depression.
I'm so sorry to hear you are struggling with postnatal depression.
As you are experiencing, it can affect any woman even if she did not suffer from it after a previous birth.
Please don't feel guilty, it is not your fault that you are feeling like this. I'm really glad to hear that your husband is helping to support you with caring for your children and I would continue to let him help you with this. You mustn't feel like you just need to carry on on your own - it is good to have help. Allow yourself to rest or just go to a cafe on your own or for a walk whilst he is caring for your children. How often is he able to give you this time? I know it will be difficult if he is balancing working too. Do you have any other family members or close friends who could help to support you in this way too?
When I suffered from post traumatic stress after the birth of my son I felt so lonely but I was ashamed to tell anyone or to ask for help. I also felt like there was something wrong with me because I couldn't love my baby. But eventually, with help and support, I was able to start dealing with the trauma (this took many months) and to bond with my beautiful baby. I found that wearing him in a baby carrier helped me with this, in fact, babywearing has been found to help reduce the severity of postnatal depression.
It would also be a good idea to talk to your doctor or health visitor about how you are feeling. Around 1 in 6 women suffer from this problem so your healthcare provider should be used to helping women with postnatal depression. They can also put you in touch with a local support group so you can talk to women who are also experiencing postnatal depression.
Carry on eating a healthy, balanced diet and it's important to eat foods with plenty of vitamin B1 (e.g. from pineapples and oranges), B2 (e.g. from bananas and mangos) and B3 (e.g. from peaches and avocados), folic acid is also important.
You are not alone. Many, many women suffer from postnatal depression. Please get as much help and support that you can and don't suffer with this on your own.
Thinking of you,