Preventing postpartum depression, or the baby blues, is never foolproof. You may have a wonderful, happy pregnancy. You may be super excited to meet your new baby. Your care provider may even screen you for depression. You may even follow all of my tips below. That said, none of that means you'll positively avoid postpartum depression. I'm saying this to you, because I've known women who feel responsible for their depression. They think, "Oh, if I had just done this or that, I would feel depressed." Some studies note that as many as 80% of women develop symptoms of the baby blues and that at least 10% of women do develop serious postpartum depression. Many women who develop symptoms of baby blues feel guilty. But know this, postpartum depression is a real illness. It's not in your head, and science is not 100% sure why some women get depressed after their baby arrives, while others never do. Now that my little disclaimer is out of the way, I'll also tell you that some steps have really been shown to possibly prevent depression from occurring after your baby arrives. Six of these steps include:
1) Meet and socialize with other mamas. 2) Set aside some regular time for yourself after your baby arrives. 3) Ask for help with baby care, home chores, and other life stressors that can pop up for a new mama. 4) Talk to your postnatal care provider - this means keep your appointments. Often, a professional can spot signs of depression you may miss, and thus help you control them before they get out of control. 5) Exercise!!! And the number one tip... 6) Don't jump into parenthood with perfection on your mind. You may be planning on being the perfect parent, the one you've carved out in your mind, but trust me, it won't happen. Babies are unpredictable. Parenting is hard and unpredictable. Life overall is messy and a whole lot of trial and error. If you jump into parenthood with an unrealistic expectation that you'll be perfect, it's going to stress you out when you realize you're not perfect. Plan on a learning curve, unexpected events, and most of all be flexible. Rolling with the punches is going to help you stay calm. Need more info?