It’s not uncommon that mothers of newborns feel the symptoms of postpartum depression. Whether the mother suspects she has the baby blues or depression, many symptoms may creep in.
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).
Women who encounter PNP often report symptoms of fatigue, anxiety, insomnia, tearfulness, irritability, and loss of appetite. Given this physical and emotional disturbance, women are usually willing to try different options to treat their depression. Why not try singing if it could help significantly?
The summary of the study, found in Newsweek, cited a goal of observing women facing PNP 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 PNP 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.”
The groups brought a sense of identity and progress to the women because they found that they 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 PNP and don’t have access to a workshop like the women in the study, try singing lullabies more consistently with your baby. Your anxiety and tearfulness just may decrease at a quicker pace – and your baby gets to hear the soothing sound his mother’s voice.
Sounds like it’s worth a try to me.