I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl 4 months ago. The pregnancy was planned and the birth eagerly anticipated by my husband and I. Since my daughter's birth, I have felt joyless, horribly depressed and anxious. I also feel no bond with my baby at all (this feels awful). I have no history of depression and don't understand what is going on with me. Up until her birth, I was a happy and balanced person. I have tried good nutrition, supplements and exercise and nothing seems to be working. I want to feel love and connection with my daughter and joy for life. I worry about the impact this will have on her emotional health in the future. I am taking fish oil, b vitamins, thyroid herbs and vitamin d. I've recently started practicing pranayamas. Is there anything else you could suggest?
Postpartum Depression is a complex phenomenon that can involve many factors. Even though the predominant cause may be the sudden change in hormone levels after the birth, there can also be emotional/psychological factors, nutritional issues, and so on - as you seem to be aware. There is no simple answer to this. Definitely, practicing pranayama daily is a very good thing to do, as well as the other things you are doing. A full routine of yoga would also be a very good idea if you're not already doing that. I'd also suggest seeing an acupuncturist (especially one who has expertise in womens/hormonal issues if possible). Eliminating sugar from your diet would be helpful as well.
Aside from doing those things, the most powerful method I know for depression of all kinds, is EFT (Meridian Tapping). Although you can learn to use it on your own, I would recommend working first with a experienced practitioner. Identifying the core issues and feelings to "tap on" is critical to getting the best results. I recently did some EFT with a woman who was depressed for the last 10 years since the birth of her child, and her depression began to lift by the 2nd session of tapping. Definitely worth trying.
Above all, be easy on yourself. The guilt that often comes along with being a new mother and being depressed, can multiply the problems. Whatever you decide to do, seeing a therapist regularly for support would be very important. Don't give up - things can turn around.
Ben Schwarcz, MFT
Santa Rosa Psychotherapist
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