Do you feel like you can’t bond with your baby this holiday season? Or maybe you just had your baby. It’s been a few weeks, but you still can’t shake the perpetual mental fog or find joy in the first smiles?
You are not alone.
If this describes you, then your uninvited holiday guest this year may be postpartum depression. In fact, 1 in 7 women (and 1 in 10 men) experience postpartum depression.
Postpartum depression is a serious mental health condition that can affect women (and some men) after childbirth. Postpartum depression creates overwhelming feelings of anxiety, depression, fatigue, and sadness that can affect a parent’s ability to care for their baby.
Postpartum depression can make daily tasks, like getting out of bed or taking a shower, feel impossible. In the past, you may have found joy in shopping for gifts and sending the perfect Christmas card — now you may feel like you’re just trying to survive.
We understand the holidays are demanding. They're especially stressful for a new parent. Below are a few small actions you can take to make this season a little bit easier for you and your family.
Your days have changed to constant diaper changes and feeding sessions. It’s easy to become lost in the routine. If you’re feeling disconnected from yourself or your family, try these two grounding techniques.
Grounding yourself regularly can help balance your thoughts and feelings and increase your presence.
Postpartum depression is isolating. You may feel like you’re in a mental state that you can’t escape, or you’re too tired to leave your home. Take small steps to challenge yourself.
Since the holiday spirit is plentiful this time of the year, a trip outside might lift your mood. Leaving the house can be as simple as:
If you’re struggling with getting out of bed, consider how a change of environment can be a mood-booster. You might realize that getting out of your home can help get you out of your head and clear up some of that brain fog.
In times of social media perfection, it’s important to have realistic expectations of what you can or cannot do — especially when dealing with postpartum depression.
There are positive changes you can make now to cope with your emotions. Instead of feeling pressured to buy gifts for others, send a thoughtful card or hand-made gift. No matter what, avoid putting pressure on yourself to “do it all.” Choose one or two traditions this holiday season to embrace.
Here are some ideas to help you get started:
Most importantly, be present with the ritual you choose. Start small so you can appreciate the joy that simplicity sparks.
It’s easy to care for everyone but yourself during the holidays. You're also worried about your baby’s health, your symptoms, body changes, and endless to-do lists.
To focus on yourself, consider starting a self-care routine. A few ideas include:
If you or a loved one are showing signs of postpartum depression, don’t wait to get help. Talk with your doctor or mental health professional to see what resources are available to you.
And if you’re a new parent and you’re struggling this holiday season, remember to be kind to yourself. You’ve been through a huge life change, and you can get through this, too.
If you or a loved one are experiencing a mental health emergency, do not use this site. Instead, call 911 or use one of these emergency resources.