How do you prevent postpartum depression? I’m pregnant for the second time and I’m terrified of suffering from postpartum depression again. I don’t know how to prevent postpartum depression, but I’m hoping the following things will help me get through the postpartum season without a massive meltdown this time.
No Pressure to Breastfeed
My breast feeding failure with my first baby was a large contributor to my postpartum depression. This go round, I’m tempted to start with formula from day one… with “baby friendly” hospital policies this is easier said than done.
Im *trying* to go into it with an attitude that I’ll try it, if it works for us I’ll breastfeed, if it doesn’t, I’ll have bottles and formula on hand. My son is proof enough to me that a formula fed baby can be strong, healthy, smart, and well attached. Breast milk is amazing, but it’s not worth sacrificing my mental health.
That is easy to type, but I’m much more conflicted about it than it sounds on paper. To hear to real raw emotions on this one head over to my podcast “How To Be A Good Mom”…
Taking Maternity Leave
Im taking a real maternity leave this time. Stressing about getting back to clients and working (literally from the NICU) was so unnecessary. The pressure I felt to work during that time was completely internal, no one in my life was pushing me to keep working, but I was pushing myself and ultimately it hurt me. I work a full commission job, so although I won’t have any paid time off, I’m choosing to block off a solid chunk of time to be 100% off from work, starting over a month before baby is due.
Again, this is easier said than done, but I have to prioritize my mental health and the health of my family.
Lining Up Help
This time around I’m acknowledging that I need in person support postpartum. I need help. I want to focus on recovering from birth and bonding with my baby, not cleaning my house.
I’m budgeting for an every other week cleaning service for the first 6 weeks after delivery, asking my mom to be on call for childcare for James and the new baby if I need a midday nap, and chatting with a postpartum doula about her services.
I realize that these things cost money, but I’m willing to sacrifice other things like professional newborn pictures and high end nursery furniture in order to afford them.
Communicating With My Doctor To Prevent Postpartum Depression
Last time I suffered in silence for a full 6 weeks before getting help. This time my doctor and I have agreed that we will be in communication far earlier than that 6 week postpartum appointment.
A combination of medication and therapy helped so much when I was diagnosed in 2020. I’m going to keep in close contact with my doctor to assess whether either of those treatments become necessary or should be tweaked.
There is absolutely no shame in taking medication to alleviate postpartum depression. I’ve been on a low dose of medication ever since I was diagnosed and have no plans of going off of it. Why? I feel good right how. I’m not experiencing any negative side effects and I’m in a great place mentally, so why rock the boat? The medication is completely safe for pregnancy and breast feeding, so if I need to adjust my dosage I won’t hesitate to do so.
There’s no guarantee I won’t experience Postpartum Depression again. I’m terrified I will. It was the darkest time of my life and I’ll do anything to avoid being there again. All I can do is prepare myself and make sure I have a support system in place.