Editor's note: If you are concerned that you may be experiencing a postpartum mood issue, please reach out to your provider right away for diagnoses and treatment. You can also call 9-1-1 or go to a local emergency room if you feel like you are going to hurt yourself or someone else.
It's not uncommon that mothers of newborns feel the symptoms of postpartum depression. In fact, up to 20% of women will experience PPD. Symptoms may include fatigue, anxiety, insomnia, tearfulness, irritability and loss of appetite.
After my first child was born, I felt anxious and weepy. People recommended different remedies, including getting outside, talking with friends, sleeping when the baby slept, and others. Although I slowly improved, no one ever suggested that I try singing lullabies.
According to a new study in the British Journal of Psychiatry, singing actually helps decrease the symptoms of postnatal depression (PND).
The summary of the study, found in Newsweek, cited a goal of observing women with postpartum depression to see if singing lullabies would help alleviate their symptoms.
One hundred and thirty-four women were either placed into a workshop group of 10 to 12 participants where they sang lullabies, or another group where they carried on with their regular routines for 10 weeks. The women in the singing groups brought their babies with them and were encouraged to learn lullabies and other children's songs. The sessions lasted around 60 minutes each.
Women in both groups reported an improvement of their symptoms, but women in the singing group responded at a significantly quicker rate.
Rosie Perkins, a researcher of Imperial College of London, said, “Additionally, some of our other research with mothers has shown that singing led to greater decreases in anxiety and enhanced perceptions of emotional closeness than other social interaction."
Women in the study found that the workshops brought a sense of identity and progress, because weren't going through the obstacles of motherhood alone. And the singing itself helped relieve the depressed brain.
The positive effects of both singing and the camaraderie of women are not new findings when it comes to defeating depression. Think about the benefits of listening to a favorite song and how it can lift you out of a funk. Feeling less alone amidst all of the obstacles that motherhood brings is imperative, too—especially when it comes to depression after a birth of a child.
If you're feeling the effects of postpartum depression, please seek help. In addition, consider music! If you don't have access to a workshop like the women in the study, try singing lullabies more consistently with your baby. In conjunction with the support of you provider, you may find that singing helps your anxiety and tearfulness decrease at a quicker pace. Plus, your baby gets to hear the soothing sound their mother's voice.
Sounds like it's worth a try to me.
For a list of resources for postpartum depression, please visit: Postpartum depression and anxiety are more common than you may think—here are the resources you need