Managing postpartum depression during the holidays

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 8, 2021

We often imagine the holidays to be a joyous, happy time where we can be with family and celebrate the good times. But for some new moms, they might not feel up to celebrating. For those struggling with postpartum depression or anxiety, the holidays can add an extra layer of pressure to an already overwhelming time. If you are recovering from postpartum depression or anxiety, here are some tips to make your holiday season a little less stressful and more manageable.

  • First things first, talk with your doctor. Your OB/GYN can provide great resources to help manage postpartum depression or anxiety, and they can help schedule you with a therapist, if needed. Ochsner Anywhere Care virtual visits offer immediate access to a healthcare provider from your smartphone, tablet or computer. During this busy and hectic season, you can see a licensed therapist face-to-face from the comfort of your own home.
  • Create boundaries. If you know certain things overwhelm you or cause your anxiety or depression to amplify, avoid those tasks. For example, maybe it’s bigger group settings or cooking a full meal for everyone. Know your limits and let others know what you can and cannot do. Do not be afraid to say no. Instead of trying to live up to an image of what the holidays should be like, think about and describe what would make this time of the year better for you. Would you prefer to spend it with more immediate family? Would not having to do extensive shopping or decorating make things easier? Does take out instead of cooking a full meal or just sitting at home doing a relaxing activity bring you comfort and joy?
  • Ask other family members or friends for help. Sometimes, it can be difficult to ask for help from others but asking for help does not diminish your abilities as a mother. If you need a family member to watch your baby for a few hours or have a friend bring over some food, specifically ask them for what you need. Our family members and friends are not mind readers, so it is best to be straightforward and ask for what you need.
  • Practice mindfulness. Acknowledge and be aware of your true feelings and emotions when it comes to the holidays. Often, trying to feel the opposite of what your mind and body are experiencing makes the problem worse. Allowing yourself to express your true feelings, even if it is just to yourself, although it helps to talk to others, may relieve some emotional distress.
  • Take time for yourself. Find out what brings you joy, and make sure you work that into your day. While spending time with your family during the holidays can be important it is also important to have some me time and recharge.

While the holidays can be challenging, know that you will get through them. Continue practicing self-care and check in with your mental health needs. If you are experiencing symptoms of postpartum depression or anxiety, contact your Ochsner OB/GYN to discuss best next steps.

Dr. John McCrossen received his medical degree from Louisiana State University School of Medicine and completed his residency training in Obstetrics and Gynecology with Ochsner Foundation Hospital in 2004. He is board-certified and a fellow of the American College of Obstetrics & Gynecologists. Dr. McCrossen specializes in Robotics and minimally invasive treatments for abnormal bleeding and fibroids and sees high and low risk obstetrical patients. To schedule an appointment with Dr. McCrossin at Ochsner Health Center- River Parishes, call 985-652-3500 or visit www.ochsner.org.