Maternal Support
 
Mother with Postnatal Depression

Having postnatal depression can be frightening and distressing. How can you help yourself? Some pointers from Louise Moxon (Founder of Cocoon).

Sometimes you may feel like you are going mad and will never feel normal again.  It is important to remember that with the right support and treatment you will recover and enjoy life again. IT IS A TREATABLE ILLNESS. Postnatal Depression is beyond your control and is not your fault or a sign of weakness. It is very real and is more common than most people realize and does come in various degrees of severity. We have listed below various self help strategies which have been proven to help overcome PND.

Rest

Tiredness may make your symptoms worse. Don't feel that you have to get loads done. Remember you are more important. As difficult as it may sound when you are full of anxiety, try and take a rest on your bed every day, and sleep if possible or take a long bath. Aromatherapy oils can be helpful such as camomile, lavender or rose to help relax your mind, body and soul.

Supplements, Diet and Water

Take Omega 3 & 6 as these play a crucial role in brain function as well as normal growth and development and can help with blood sugar levels and cravings. Take a good multi vitamin especially if your appetite is poor. Try and eat regular meals, which are carbohydrate based as this will keep your blood sugar levels stable and will help both your mood and anxiety. If your blood sugar isn't kept constant and you start binging on sweets, chocolates and caffeine containing products, it can often make the depression and anxiety worse. Drink plenty of water at least 8 glasses a day as this can help cleanse your system of toxins which can escalate when in the state of high anxiety and depression. Always check with your GP and, or pharmacist before taking any supplements in case they interfere with any medication you may be taking.

Complimentary and Alternative Therapies

Acupuncture, Meditation, Massage, Aromatherpy, Chinese Medicine, Reflexology, Reiki and Yoga are all helpful in helping to ease the symptoms of Postnatal Depression.

Georgiana Monckton

Georgiana is a mother of two children, who are now in their 20's. She is a qualified Usui Reiki Master Practitioner http://www.georgianamoncktonreiki.com/what-is-reiki.php with 15 years' experience. She is based in South West London, Georgiana treats her clients in a relaxing home environment with her uniquely warm, down to earth manner. Georgiana is also a published author. In her book, Dear Isobel, Georgiana gives a raw yet inspirational account of the trauma of losing her first daughter - who died tragically just before her second birthday - and her journey to come to terms with the loss.

~ Louise Moxon - Founder of Cocoon was personally treated by Georgiana and this is her testimonial:

Having experienced Reiki during a time of deep stress and anxiety I found after each and every treatment more relaxed, able to sleep better at night and definitely felt more balanced as a person.  I can't speak more highly of Reiki particularly those people who suffer from Depression and anxiety.  Georgiana is a miracle worker!

Breathing

If you are suffering from mainly anxiety it helps to concentrate on learning a few breathing techniques as this will help to alleviate tension and anxiety and help to reduce the frequency or occurrence of panic attacks. Anxious or nervous people start to feel they can't get enough oxygen and breathe too quickly. This lowers the carbon dioxide level in the blood, which can cause "symptoms of numbness and tingling of the hands, and dizziness." I would suggest getting a paper bag taking 3 long deep breaths (taking 10/15 seconds to breathe in and out. This works effectively because it forces the person to breathe in the carbon dioxide rather than "lose it into the atmosphere." After 5 to 15 minutes, the feeling of panic usually goes away. Just be careful not to overdo it and breathe in too much carbon dioxide.

Relaxation Techniques

You can buy relaxation CD's or download them off the internet but this one I found particularly helpful in reducing anxiety.

Find a suitable place to relax which is quiet and private.

Try and clear your mind of thoughts as far as you can. 

Take 3 very slow deep breaths through your nose remembering to take 10/15 seconds to breathe in and out once through your mouth.

Imagine a neutral figure. An example might be the number 1. Don't choose any object or figure with an emotional significance, such as a gift or a person, for example. Let it fill your mind. See it in your mind's eye, give it a colour, try to see it in 3-D and repeat it to yourself, under your breath, many times over. Continue until it fills your mind. 

Slowly change to imagine yourself in a quiet, peaceful and happy place or situation. I would suggest a pleasant scene from your past. Be there, and notice all the feelings, in each sense. See it, feel it, hear it and smell it. Spend some time there.

Slowly change to be aware of your body. Notice any tension in your body. Take each group of muscles in turn, and tense, then relax them two or three times each. Include all the limbs like fingers, chest and toes. Be aware of the feeling of relaxation. When complete spend some time in this relaxed state.

Avoiding Isolation

Many mothers who are suffering from PND suffer feelings of isolation. It is important to share your feelings with your partner and family members so that they can help you recover. If you can't talk to your family members then confide in someone you trust who won't pass opinion or judge you. Find out if there is a local support group in your community from your GP or Health Visitor.

Exercise/Fresh Air

This doesn't need to be a vigorous work out; a steady walk in the fresh air not only helps to release endorphins but cartooning the natural chemical the brain produces to keep you positive.  If you did this every day it would help to ease irritability and tension.

Keep a Diary

Keep a diary of your feelings so you or your doctor can look back and see your progress.  If you were to ever suffer a relapse it will help you to go back through the diary to see that the illness does eventually go and you do get better.