How To Use Meditation To Help With Postpartum Depression
Giving birth can be an exciting but stressful experience and it’s not unusual to feel rather emotional for a while. However, although for some women this is nothing more than the body rebalancing its hormones, in others it leads to something which is much more significant: postpartum depression.
Up to 15% of women suffer a mood disorder after giving birth which typically includes depression and/or anxiety, but can sometimes also result in temporary psychosis too. At a time when there’s a tiny baby to take care of, and usually sleep deprivation too, it’s little wonder that postpartum depression can have a very profound effect.
There are lots of ways to help treat postpartum depression and it’s important to seek advice from medical professionals if you’re not feeling quite like yourself. However, there are some things you can do to try and help yourself too, such as meditation.
Here’s a look at how you can use meditation to help with postpartum depression.
Take A Breath
The idea of meditation may sound intimidating but really, it’s just the practice of focusing the mind, regulating your breathing and slowly relaxing.
Learning how to breathe properly can be particularly useful for anxiety, a condition which can accompany depression or occur in isolation. It can be exacerbated by a poor breathing technique, and conversely, can be helped by correcting the way you breathe.
Most people breathe too shallowly, not using their lungs to their full capacity. This leads to more rapid breaths, and in extreme cases hyperventilation and panic attacks. By learning how to slow your breathing down and focus on taking mindful and regular breaths, the feelings of anxiety will dissipate.
The Beauty Of Focusing Your Mind
Postpartum depression is an extremely overwhelming condition and is complicated by the need to provide care for your baby. It can begin quite quickly after you give birth but in many cases it won’t develop for some time. This means that people will have expected you to have “gotten over” new mum nerves and be a deft hand at looking after an infant.
Postpartum depression can leave you feeling as if you can’t cope with even the simplest of tasks, and this can be difficult to explain to others. This is especially the case if it develops after several months and you’ve been outwardly managing well.
Meditating means sitting quietly and focusing your mind, gently pushing unwanted thoughts away. This can be difficult at first but after a few daily sessions you’ll find yourself able to achieve a clearer mind much more easily.
Getting rid of mental chatter is helpful for anyone, but if you’re suffering from depression it can be particularly useful. It’s not uncommon to have unwanted thoughts and feelings of low self-worth.
Meditation helps you to push those thoughts and feelings away, and this can have quite a profound effect on your mood. Focusing your consciousness through meditation can provide you with a sense of reclaiming power over your mind, giving a welcome escape from the dark cloud of negativity.
Enjoy Each Moment
One of the biggest tell-tale signs of postpartum depression is the persistent inability to enjoy anything, and the feeling of being unable to bond with your child. These feelings can be scary and at times, it might seem as if you’ll never be able to smile again.
One of the fundamental principles of meditation is abolishing fear of the future, and not trying to control future events. Instead, the emphasis is on enjoying the present moment to its fullest and immersing yourself in pleasurable sensations.
This focus on the present moment is a good way to break things down and take life one small step at a time. By learning how to focus on each single moment as it comes and goes, and releasing the worries about what may come, it is easier to recapture a sense of happiness. While there may be bad days to get through, recognizing and relishing any good times can help you feel more centered and positive.
Don’t Suffer In Silence
Postpartum depression isn’t something that you should have to keep secret and there are lots of different ways in which you can get help. The longer you leave it, the more potential it has to become severe. As a general rule, baby blues shouldn’t last more than two weeks; if your mood has been altered for longer, it’s worth having a chat with your doctor or health visitor.
However, while you should never avoid getting proper medical advice, you can use meditation to help with postpartum depression and anxiety of all types. Whether you’re struggling badly, or just don’t feel quite like yourself, learning to breathe properly, focus and quieten your mind will offer lasting benefits.